From: R. Douglas Fulton
Subject: Recent issue with herbal tea bought in Peru
A P-Division employee recently returned from a trip to South America. At the conclusion of that trip some herbal tea was purchased in the duty free shop at the airport in Peru. The tea was made available for general consumption at the employee's workplace and at least one employee did consume the tea. That employee was chosen for a random drug test the next day and tested positive for cocaine metabolites.
The label on the tea stated that it contained Coca leaves and after laboratory testing, the tea was determined to contain cocaine in sufficient amounts to result in a positive test after consumption. A consultation between Occupational Medicine, Legal, Security, HR, and line management resulted in a determination that the employee could return to work with no disciplinary consequences.
If anyone is aware of the existence of this tea - or any other suspect substance - at work or at home, I recommend the following actions:
- under no circumstances should you consume this tea or any other foods or beverages of unknown or suspect origin,
- if you have this tea at home, dispose of it immediately,
- if you are aware of the existence of this tea at work, collect all of it, notify line management, and transport it to Occupational Medicine (Dr. Sandra Scher is a good contact, 5-2647) for testing and disposal,
- and finally, if you have consumed this tea, self report to your line management who can then arrange to accompany you to Occupational Medicine. Occupational Medicine will determine if a drug test is needed.
I'll be available to answer any follow up questions that you have. Myunderstanding is that LANL is crafting a message to the entire Lab to warn people of the dangers associated with inadvertent exposures to drugs. In general, we should all know that while various food and drinks may be completely legal in other countries, if their consumption results in a positive drug test, their legality elsewhere is unlikely to be a mitigating factor. In short, be careful as to what you eat or
R. Douglas Fulton, Ph.D.
Mail Stop F621
Los Alamos National Laboratory
Los Alamos, NM 87544