Tuesday, July 13, 2010

“KEEPING AMERICA’S MINES DRUG- AND ALCOHOL-FREE” (will this be uranium mining future problems?)

Comments: Mining is a back breaking, dirty and nasty job which has lead to huge problems with alcohol and substance abuse among the miners. The Drug problem will be part of the Uranium Mining and Milling in VA if the ban is lifted. Plus, most of the uranium workers will be outsiders, Canadians, French, Australians plus other hard rock miners. The Drug problem will increase crime on people, business and more plus will put a strain on our Local law enforcement which will increase our taxes for more Law enforcers! Tell VA leaders no to uranium mining and milling!


Sponsored by the Mine Safety and Health Administration and The States of Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia 
Hazard Community and Technical College
Hazard, Kentucky

December 8, 2004


On December 8, 2004, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and the States of
Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia hosted “Keeping America’s Mines Drug- and Alcohol-
Free,” a one-day substance abuse summit. This kick-off meeting in the Southern Appalachian
region brought together a coalition of government, mining industry, labor, miners, and public
health experts in sharing information, expertise and experiences in dealing with substance abuse
in mines and the community.

Throughout the course of the day, over 200 participants listened to keynote speeches from Mr.
David Dye, Acting Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and
Health Administration and Ms. LaJuana Wilcher, Secretary of Kentucky’s Environmental and
Public Protection Cabinet; engaged government panelists representing the States of Kentucky,
West Virginia and Virginia and MSHA on the “The Urgent Case for Action on Substance
Abuse,” learned from coal operators on the employer experience with “Substance Abuse
Programs, Successes, Challenges and Lessons Learned,” heard concerns on the Miner Experience
and the Impact of Substance Abuse; and explored “Resources for the Mining Industry” and
steps to a drug-free workplace for employers and small mines.

Participants were exceptionally engaged in the Action Planning Workshop in which 4 facilitated
discussions were held in breakout groups. These 4 groups included 1) Mine Substance Abuse
Task Force – what is the purpose, scope and priority setting?; 2) Substance Abuse – what should
be the government’s role?; 3) The Role of the Workers’ Compensation Carriers – how can they
help? and 4) Integrated Efforts between Government, Industry, Labor and Community

Resources – how to get the biggest bang for the buck on education, outreach, resources, and

Summit participants were able to identify priorities and actions needed to address drug and
alcohol abuse among miners. The participants’ keen interest and ensuing dialogue provided
evidence that there is multi-sector commitment in addressing this pervasive issue in the
Southern Appalachian region and a sense of urgency for solutions.


I would like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to all of you who
supported and participated in our “Keeping America’s Mines Drug- and Alcohol-Free”
Summit. Without a doubt substance abuse is a national concern to our society;
however, the prevalence of this issue in our communities can deter the positive safety
and health trends experienced by the mining industry in the last several years. The
participation and dedication we observed at the December 8, 2004 Summit reinforced
my belief that we are a forward-thinking industry with the courage to spear head into
solving problems and issues knowing full well that the answers are not readily

As promised, this document provides an executive summary of the discussions and
ideas that came about at the Summit. In addition to this summary, we will have all the
Summit keynote speeches and power point presentations available on the Mine Safety
and Health Administration’s web site at http://www.msha.gov/

We charged ourselves with a multi-faceted goal at the beginning of the Summit. We
were taking a visionary look at short-term and long-term solutions, evaluating what the
industry could do to mitigate the problems, and establishing a path for the Mine
Substance Abuse Task Force to explore as solution pioneers. This summary highlights
the break out session groups’ thoughts, recalls pertinent comments that were made and
provides a reminder to all of us that the momentum must continue if resolution is to be

Thanks again for your hard work and contributions. Addressing the substance abuse
and alcohol problems in the mining industry is a monumental step in our journey to
zero injuries, illnesses and fatalities in the Coal mining industry.

Ray McKinney

Please read the whole review at:

New Virginia Coal Mine Safety Act Requirements on SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND How They Will Affect

As a result of changes to the Virginia Coal Mine Safety Act (the Act) that will become
effective July 1, 2007, the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) Division of
Mines (DM) can now require substance abuse testing as part of an inspection or complaint

Testing will be required if a DM inspector finds there is reasonable cause to
suspect a miner is impaired due to the presence of intoxicants or any controlled substance not
used in accordance with the prescription of a licensed prescriber.

Substance abuse testing will also be required if such an impairment is suspected of being a contributing factor to a mine accident causing serious injury or death. DMME can also accept appropriate testing results
provided by your employer.


DMME/DM will immediately respond to anonymous complaints of an alleged violation or reasonable cause to suspect a substance abuse violation during an inspection at your mine.

Read more:

Mine Substance Abuse Task Force

Mine Substance Abuse Task Force FINAL REPORTI.

IntroductionSubstance abuse is a critical problem facing the nation and our society as a whole. It is associated with many types of crime such as fraudulent medical claims, increased accidents, as well as lost time at work, serious health problems, social dysfunction and premature death.

Within the last several years,problems related to substance abuse in Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia have received increased attention from the media, law enforcement, the justicesystem and local communities. Rates of substance abuse, particularly associated with diverted prescription painkillers, methadone and methamphetamine, are increasing dramatically as reflected in treatment admissions, drug related deaths and drug related arrests.

The abuse of Oxycontin in the Central Appalachian area has received national media attention. While evidence suggests that substance abuse is prevalent in thecoal field regions of Kentucky, Southwest Virginia and southern West Virginia, concerns about the impact to the mining industry began to rise following the death of one miner and injury of another miner when marijuana was found in the mine anda witness told investigators that he saw two miners snorting crushed painkillers.

 MSHA Acting Director, David Dye is on record stating "In several recent fatal mining accidents, toxicology reports revealed the presence of drugs or alcohol in the victim's system."

Read more:

Substance Abuse and Mental Health – A Comparison of Appalachian Coal Mining Areas to Other Areas within the Appalachian Region

6.1 Introduction

A key geographic and economic feature of the Appalachian region is that a large proportion of the
region is coal producing. The coal mining industry has long been a vital part of the economy of
Appalachia and remains a major industry within the region. Many residents of the Appalachian region
are employed in the coal mining industry or are employed in other industries that depend upon coal
mining for their business.106

It has been reported in major news media that, with per-ton prices doubling in the past six years, mining is currently more profitable than any other time in the past generation. This has led to a coal boom, which has provided economic opportunity for many workers within the region, but has also been clouded by an increase in drug use, as reported by the media.

 The media’s poignant stories about drug use in coal mining areas have cited abuse of painkillers,
methadone overdoses, and addiction OxyContin107 as major problems. Standard national estimates
comparing major occupational groups indicate that people in occupations involving heavy physical
labor tend to use substances more,108,109 yet workers in the coal mining industry have been reported as
having only average prevalence of past month illicit drug use among major occupational groups.110

In addition to these seemingly contradictory results in media reporting and available research, questions
also remain as to whether mining-concentrated areas feature differently in terms of treatment services
access and health care utilization.

Read more:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Study Finds Methamphetamine Use Lower, Opiate Use Higher in Appalachia than Nationwide

BETHESDA, MD -- Results from a study of health disparities in the Appalachian Region show that hospital admission rates for methamphetamine use are lower across Appalachia than in the rest of the nation, while admission rates for abuse of opiates and synthetic drugs (like codeine and oxycodone) are higher, especially in coal-mining areas. Use of other illicit drugs (other than marijuana and cocaine) and non-medical use of prescription drugs are also cited more frequently as major reasons for treatment admission in coal mining areas than in other areas in Appalachia.

The study also found that mental health diagnoses for serious problems independent from substance abuse are proportionately higher in Appalachia than in the rest of the nation and that the availability of treatment for substance abuse and mental health issues is better in Appalachia.

Researchers at the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) were commissioned by the Appalachian Regional Commission to analyze differences in mental health conditions, substance abuse prevalence, and access to treatment services in the 410-county Appalachian Region as compared to the rest of the nation.

Read more: