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BA Depressed Me!  
User currently offline744 From United States of America, joined Aug 2001, 450 posts, RR: 0
Posted (10 years 10 months 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 7931 times:

I had recently finished my interview and training process with BA and was asked to take the drug test last week. The day before the drug test I took some cough syrup (not prescribed to me. It is under my mom’s prescription) as it was too late at night and I had really strong cough and couldn’t go to the store that late at night. When BA had my drug test back it showed high level of codeine. I was called by the Manager to give an explanation about this. I told him honestly what had happened. He said that he I can no longer continue with BA, I asked him why and he said that the codeine level was too high 866. I told him that I am willing to take another drug test or any random drug test at any point in time to prove that I DO NOT DO anything wrong. But he said that I should have listed the medication on the screening form before the screening. I did not list it because I thought it’s just a cough medication and also it was not prescribed to me. After going to all this hard work of training and achieving my dream job I can’t go any further. Do you think that it was unfair of BA to give me another chance? Is there any other way or option for me once I have been told no? Would I be able to work for BA again? Would writing to the head office about my innocent mistake help at all? I work for two other airlines at the same airport, and I never ever had any problems with them whatsoever. What should I do at this point?

43 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
User currently offlineLuv2fly From United States of America, joined May 2003, 12308 posts, RR: 45
Reply 1, posted (10 years 10 months 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 7831 times:
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Well you should have told them before the test that you took this cough medicine, you would not have had to shown the actual prescription or anything.

You can cut the irony with a knife
User currently offlineLuv2fly From United States of America, joined May 2003, 12308 posts, RR: 45
Reply 2, posted (10 years 10 months 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 7817 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Also try writing a well written and factual letter, explain the facts keep it simple, explain yourself and hope for the best.

You can cut the irony with a knife
User currently offlineMissedApproach From Canada, joined Oct 2004, 713 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (10 years 10 months 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 7763 times:

Doh! The screeners should've mentioned a few examples of common, over-the-counter medications that can cause false positives or otherwise skew the results of your test. They may not have an obligation to do so, but there are so many seemingly benign drugs out there that only a pharmacist knows what's what. Even eating breakfast can affect the results of both blood & urine tests.
I'm would think if you try hard enough (without getting nasty) that someone would give you another chance. Good luck!

Can you hear me now?
User currently offlineGreasespot From Canada, joined Apr 2004, 3095 posts, RR: 19
Reply 4, posted (10 years 10 months 5 days ago) and read 7710 times:

It sucks but that is life. I am sure every person who has failed a drug test has an excuse....That is why they believe no one.

I dunno I have learned enough from watching the Olympics that I know what not to take when having a drug test.

Suck it up as a lesson learned and move on.


Sometimes all you can do is look them in the eye and ask " how much did your mom drink when she was pregnant with you?"
User currently offlineLufthansa From Christmas Island, joined May 1999, 3253 posts, RR: 10
Reply 5, posted (10 years 10 months 5 days ago) and read 7695 times:

This is the problem with this in America.

They shouldn't have been able to ask you this question unless they had reason to suspect drugs may be interfering with your job AFTER you were employeed.

Seriously, are too many cases like this, on this which hunt for the kid who smoked 1 joint. What really surprises me is that BA did this. Most non-american companies I have had anything to do with persue similar policies to that in their own country. That is... this sort of thing in most western countries is considered a violation of privacy. Now if, for example, pilots turned up acting drunk or smelling of something...that is a different story but really, enough is enough.

You lost your chance because people are too nosy and the laws support that. What if you, say, happened to be in the same room as somebody smoking Pot? It may show up in a drug test thru passive smoking. Furthermore, the substance you tested positive for isn't exactly dangerous, and doesn't have too many side effects provided you dont mix it with alcohol.

Write them a letter. You have nothing too loose. Im not sure what the laws are in your state, but Codine is available over the counter in most western countries. Afterall, this is just a simple pain killer we are talking about here.... not Cocaine or Heroin. If you have a good relationship with your doctor, i would go to him or her, and ask her for a letter/medical statement. If you go quickly they should be able to identify the condition, and perhaps provide you with some kind of documentation you could included with a letter to BA. This is really gonna depend on your doctor but the sooner the better.

Good Luck!
PS - if they're rude and nasty too you, this could make a good story to the local press. BA discriminates against coff medicine users. Or better still....after you do that, write to Virgin Atlantic. I somehow don't think Richard Branson and crew are gonna have a problem.

User currently offlineCactus739 From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 2457 posts, RR: 29
Reply 6, posted (10 years 10 months 5 days ago) and read 7653 times:

So lets get this straight, and I hope I don't sound too negative.

You had a cold. You took a prescription that was not for you, this is illegal in most places, FYI. Prescription cough medicines are usually very high in coedine, as you discovered. They gave you a form to fill out and one of the questions dealt with medications you were or have taken. You elected not to put a prescription cough medicine on the form, even though you knew you had taken it. You then failed your drug test.

So you are mad at BA for this and cant figure out how BA could do this to you?

Slightly different but not is the situation I had at work where I sent a potential new hire for a drug test. He then failed his drug test and blamed it on a poppyseed muffin. Did I believe him? No. Did he get hired? No. He failed a drug test. Did I find out from other sources he's a pothead? Yes. Explaining it to them really probably just seemed like an excuse (even if it is true). They have to go on the facts, and the facts of your drug test said you failed. Think about this. You're involved in loading, boarding a flight or whatever. There's an incident with the flight. Looking into it they find that someone involved in the flight failed their drug test. Bad bad news.

Do I think it was unfair of BA? Sorry to say it... but you did this to yourself. You can't blame anyone else. Sorry.

You can't fix stupid.... - Ron White
User currently offlineGlobeTrekker From Netherlands, joined Dec 2003, 851 posts, RR: 14
Reply 7, posted (10 years 10 months 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 7622 times:

I remember when I applied at AA in Aruba as a Customer Service Agent, I had to take a lie-detector test and a drug test, before being sent to Dallas for training.

I was surprised when they told me. They informed after the third round of interviews. I passed luckily, but just before I left for DFW, KLM made me an offer I could not refuse and joined them.


The World Is A Book And Those Who Do Not Travel Read Only A Page
User currently offlineCactus739 From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 2457 posts, RR: 29
Reply 8, posted (10 years 10 months 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 7609 times:


BA didn't discriminate against a cold medicine user. They didn't hire someone that failed a drug test. Huge difference.  Smile

You can't fix stupid.... - Ron White
User currently offline744 From United States of America, joined Aug 2001, 450 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (10 years 10 months 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 7503 times:

I totally understand that none else should be blammed besides me, but that doesn't mean that I do wrong things like taking drugs (especially while I am at work). I also work for two major carriers at the same airport which they can call for refrence or ask for previous results which I just had within last two months. How else would you want an innocent person to prove his innocence? Say what if my relatives in Europe gave me cough medicine from a European country(where codine in medication is over the counter) and I would just assume it to be regular cough medicine and be blammed for failing drug test just because my codine level would go up???? After going through such harships of interviews, training, tests, schedule adjusments for almost a month, do you think it is fair? They should atleast do random screening if they feel anything suspicious after giving a written warning of suspension upon failure second time in a row.

[Edited 2004-11-04 07:08:07]

User currently offline744 From United States of America, joined Aug 2001, 450 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (10 years 10 months 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 7494 times:

How would an innocent person prove his/her innocence if he/she have never influenced any kind of drug, but failed the drug test?

User currently offlineCactus739 From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 2457 posts, RR: 29
Reply 11, posted (10 years 10 months 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 7443 times:

Well, you did say in your original post that you knew it was your mom's prescription medicine.

And the screening form did have a place for you to list medicines you'd taken (such as someone else's prescription cough medicine).

So trying to change it and say that oh its someone else's cough medicine from another country and they didn't tell me the coedine content.... honestly (and i'm not trying to be a jerk) sounds like, an excuse.What do you want BA to do? Just say "Oh well, it was just cough medicine? And you just took it that once? Will you pinkie swear on it?"

I'm not tryin to be a jerk. I understand what you're saying. I know what you mean by going through all this effort to find your dream job and have it yanked away. I've had my dream job taken away before and it sucks. You can write letters, call corporate or whatever you need to do, and I hope it works. They might give you another chance and I hope they do. But from what I know, airlines aren't baseball. You don't get three strikes. Its pass or fail. Good luck.

You can't fix stupid.... - Ron White
User currently offlineLufthansa From Christmas Island, joined May 1999, 3253 posts, RR: 10
Reply 12, posted (10 years 10 months 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 7424 times:

I'm telling you, this is a basic invasion of privacy.

Codeine is not a substance that in anyway poses a danger to aviation. I would feel far more comfortable having a 747 captain with an extremely bad migrane taking codeine and continuing working than I would if he took nothing. Why? Because he will be able to concentrate clearly and far more effectively after the codeine takes effect, and he's far more likely to crash if he can't think straight due to a throbbing migraine, or even an extremely bad tooth ache for that matter.

The substance in question is a mild opioid, and after doing some research it requires prescription in all of the united states to use. This drug is freely availble throughout the EU, in New Zealand, Australia, and much of asia and doesn't pose any problem. The most servere side effect is that it may lead to constipation.... so drink plenty of water (which should also assist in a drug test anyway). The substance does not lead to any substancial amount of sleepiness unless mixed with alcohol, in which case the opioids cause the effect of the alcohol to intensify. So the real danger here is Alcohol, which is of course, readily available and wouldn't show up in the standard urine drug test.

Making suggestions about misloading far fetched. Really this is just part of an old outdated knee-jerk reaction old politicians in America keep pushing. I feel it is out of touch with most of America, and falls into the same category as the 21 year old drinking age limit. The problem here is the drug is "an opioid" and as it is derived from this, ignorant people here the word "Opioid" and think "Opium" and images of 19th C Shanghai come to their minds. Purely a knee jerk reaction that has no basis in scientific fact.

I can understand the arguement for legal reasons...but if the government got the law right, this wouldn't have been a problem. This poor guy basically has lost his chance to work at BA basically because some old men in Congress are "getting tough on drugs" but don't have a bloody clue what they're talking about. Maybe somebody should inform them that pseudoephrine (Sudafed) is available in supermarkets in California and even Utah, and I can just walk in there and buy a truckload of the stuff...stuff with some basic knoweldge of chemistry i can turn into Speed in my kitchen.

You guys need to actually all stand up and say something because this situation with regard to all of this isn't effective.... and while you're at it the Alcohol situation (because every exchange student i know between 18-20 never fly's on an american company for long haul because they cant even have a beer...also think of th tourist dollars).

Finally, 744, im urging you to go and try and find a sympathetic doctor. Just as BA probably want to cover their ass for legal reasons, a medical certificate of some description or a doctor's letter would get them off the hook. You may be lucky and get a british person who is used to seeing the substance (and thus realises your not an opium addict) examin your case...and don't forget, BA is run by an Australian these days.... and its not in Australian culture to make a big deal about something like that.

User currently offlineC-GRYK From Canada, joined Apr 2000, 751 posts, RR: 34
Reply 13, posted (10 years 10 months 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 7416 times:

I totally agree with Cactus739... 744 don't go looking for pity man, you did this to yourself, you can come up with all the excuses in the world (the one you just brought up is SO far fetched) but the bottom line is YOU messed up, not British Airways.


Think before you type!
User currently offlineSA7700 From South Africa, joined Dec 2003, 3431 posts, RR: 25
Reply 14, posted (10 years 10 months 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 7396 times:

IMHO, this is a wee bit ridiculous.

So what if the cough medicine was prescribed to someone else under a MD's prescription? Codeine is afterall freely available over the counter, just like aspirin, paracetemol, etc. And yes, aspirin can cause harm as well! If 744 really had a substance abuse problem, he could have obtained a stash of codeine a long time ago and his so-called misuse would have shown during his previous drug tests.

Yes, 744 should have declared that he had used cough syrup, but like most ordinary folks on the street it usually does not even cross your mind that the innocent use of cough syrup could in effect ruin your future and potentially (or automatically in some cases) earn you a junkie-tag!

Last but not least, is 744 not entitled to a B-test (second test) to verify conclusively whether there is absolute proof of substance abuse? So many people have been wrongly accused in the past and their lifes ruined, just because the testing procedures and verification processes were flawed and did not take count of totally explainable circumstances?

I understand that companies, especially airlines, must take substance abuse very seriously as it can jeopardise the safety of their passengers. However, to treat a current or potential employee like this, I don't really understand it.



When you are doing stuff that nobody has done before, there is no manual – Kevin McCloud (Grand Designs)
User currently offlineBill142 From Australia, joined Aug 2004, 8488 posts, RR: 8
Reply 15, posted (10 years 10 months 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 7360 times:

Reminds me of an incident involving a high profile Australian Cricketer.. I think we all know his name.

User currently offlineSkymonster From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (10 years 10 months 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 7230 times:

Success in aviation depends fundamentally on safety, and safety cannot be compromised. In many roles within aviation, taking drugs can have an effect on the person who takes those drugs ability to carry out their functions safely. For this reason alone, most airlines have a zero or very low tollerance to anyone who takes any drugs that are on their restricted list.

Anyone who takes restricted drugs and then doesn't follow that up by acting accordingly (e.g. by declaring what they've taken, or removing themselves from duty, etc.) displays a fundamental flaw in their judgement that almost always precludes them from future employment. In the case of testing during the recruitment process, the same standards have to apply - what would happen if the drug taking had not been picked up, the person had been employed and had taken drugs again in future on the continued assumption that it was OK, and at a time when safety could seriously be compromised.


User currently offlineLufthansa From Christmas Island, joined May 1999, 3253 posts, RR: 10
Reply 17, posted (10 years 10 months 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 7153 times:


I see your point...but what you guys are totally missing is the actual substance in question. In 90% of western countries, this drug is given to small children with tooth aches! Little kids, some who haven't even started school yet. It is a relatively mild substance, and doesn't impaire judgement or anything like that. This whole arguement is as ludicrous as saying the boy shouldn't be employed because he tested postive to Caffeine.

And you lot are trying to lecture the poor boy with these holier-than-thau attitudes. (primarily based on having the word "drug" in the sentence.) What you don't all realise is that i am almost certain every Qantas, BA, Singapore Air, KLM, Air France, JAL, Cathay etc etc etc would have in the last month or two, had a pilot fly a plane while using this drug. In most western countries it is perfectly legal to drive your car, operate a crane, use explosives, and even perform Surgeory while using this substance.

This drug shouldn't even be restricted, it is just that old fart congressmen, who are poorly educated themselves (because they've been in there for a billion years) and come from some hick town in the South dont have enough scientific knowledge/brain power to understand this. These are the sample people who boast they don't have passports! What if the guy was employed as a long haul crew member and he came down with a bad cold in Paris? Chances are, if he walked into the drug store, he'd pick up the same substance there in some kind of caugh syrup without even knowing it. Guy's he's not taking party drugs, and I am dumpfounded that some of you can't see that.

This guy is innocent, and deserves a second chance. In any other western country this would not have happend to him. He's far from a criminal. Think about it. It would have been late, he took a caugh syrup that was "in the house" he was probably tired and thinking mostly about his interview. He would have got up with interview performance on his mind...the fact that he was suffering a bit of a cold last night would have been the last consideration.

For him to "seriously compromise safety" he'd have to go and start downing Vodka...which as i mentioned, would NOT show up on the drug test.

User currently offlineSevenair From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2001, 1728 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (10 years 10 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 6800 times:

yeah-aviation and drugs is a funny one-i went for a medical, and was handed a questionaaire on a clip-board. The clip-board was a free one, given to the Dr from Cirpralex (an anti-depressant). Now I was on tht medication, so listed it, and faled the medical-now i think having the cirpaex clip-board was a lirttle strange-sayin that every single patient of thie AME is not allowed to be using the drug!

User currently offlineRlwynn From Germany, joined Dec 2000, 1156 posts, RR: 1
Reply 19, posted (10 years 10 months 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 6442 times:

"Codeine is not a substance that in anyway poses a danger to aviation."

Is this for real?
If someone thinks like this, they should nor be hired or if they already have a job should be fired for stupidity.

That would be equivalent of saying that alcohol is not not a substance that in anyway poses a danger to driving.

Help me.

I can drive faster than you
User currently offlineN6376m From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (10 years 10 months 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 6295 times:

Let's see. You broke the law and you lied on the form. Other than that, no problem. I'm sure that's exactly the sort of person BA wants working for them.

User currently offlineLY4XELD From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 858 posts, RR: 15
Reply 21, posted (10 years 10 months 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 6192 times:

Codeine is afterall freely available over the counter, just like aspirin, paracetemol, etc.

I don't think that's the case in the US. You need a perscription for Codeine. And by the way, here are the side effectivity (from drugs.com):

If you experience any of the following serious side effects, stop taking codeine and seek emergency medical attention:
· an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, tongue, or face; or hives);
· slow, weak breathing;
· seizures;
· cold, clammy skin;
· severe weakness or dizziness; or
· unconsciousness.
Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Continue to take codeine and talk to your doctor if you experience
· constipation;
· dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, or decreased appetite;
· dizziness, tiredness, or lightheadedness;
· muscle twitches;
· sweating;
· itching;
· decreased urination; or
· decreased sex drive.

Most of these side effects aren't good for aviation related jobs. OK, maybe not decreased sex drive...

That's why we're here.
User currently offlineLtbewr From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 13559 posts, RR: 17
Reply 22, posted (10 years 10 months 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 6039 times:

Wasn't there a 24/7 always open supermarket (Ralph's), a 7-11 or an all night drug store open in your area? It would have been better to have gone out to one of them and spent the bucks for a non-prescription cough medicine (like Vicks Formula 44 or =). I know I have a Walgreen's, several grocery stores and a 7-11 all open 24-7 or extended hours (to midnight) a short drive from my home where I could buy proper over the counter medicine. Being too lazy to go out and buy a proper drug was stupid. Better yet, maybe you should have just taken some Tylenol and suffered without any medicine knowing you were going to have a drug test soon.
Codene is a highly contolled narcotic substance in the USA, only available under a doctor's prescription and even then with very tight regulations. Codene was used in over the counter cough medicines in the USA into the 1960's but abuses of the drugs led to it being banned from over the counter medicines.

User currently offlineCrossChecked From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2004, 257 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (10 years 10 months 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 5898 times:

Who gives a crap what the drug is, what it's for or who it was prescribed to. The fact is, if you're asked on a form to mention any drug/medication you have taken within the last XX hours, you tell them EVERYTHING.

Whether it's a simple asprin or something more serious, you should always just put everything down. Saves this sort of thing from happening.

What job were you applying for?

Cabin crew, doors to manual and cross check.
User currently offline744 From United States of America, joined Aug 2001, 450 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (10 years 10 months 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 5556 times:

I applied for CSA position. Yes I did not metion the medication on the screening form as I did not even know the medication name as it was given to me by my dad. I also thought that it's just like taking any other cough syrup as it didn't have any warning whatsoever on the red bottle besides "Can cause dizzyness" so I took it way before I had to get up in the morning. How would this situation be handled in Australia or Europe where codene is freely available?

25 744 : Is there a way to determine the difference between regular drugs and medication drugs in urine sample?
26 LY4XELD : What's a regular drug and what's a medication drug? They would check for indicators...I think pseduoephedrine, found in things like Sudafed and over t
27 Post contains images Arkhem : Codeine is not available OTC in the united states. In fact under the US code it is a controlled substance. I forget which schedule it is under, but th
28 GuitrThree : Lufthansa, I have to disagree with you about this "being the problem of America." The Problem with America is the "It's not my fault" mentality so man
29 Sacflyer : I have to agree with Cactus739 here. As 744, said himself, this was his dream job. He is not alone. There are plenty of people out there who want that
30 Baw716 : When I went to work for United, I had to take a full physical given by their medical department, including a full tox screen. I had been taking prescr
31 FedExDC-10 : The thing about it not being your prescription may screw you too. For example, I work for the government and we have frequent random screenings. Accor
32 Post contains images Boeingfever777 : I agree with Cactus739, N6376M, and Sacflyer, 1. Took another person's subscription, (knowing it had a narcotic analgesic in it.) 2. Didn't disclose i
33 Baw716 : Arkhem Codeine is a schedule B analgesic. Not like morphine, oxycontin, et, al. which is schedule C and cannot be obtained without duplicate (or in Ca
34 Jacobin777 : 747..........."Is there a way to determine the difference between regular drugs and medication drugs in urine sample " nope..not really, the "chemical
35 Arkhem : Situations like this are really kind of sad. Really, how many employers loose out on honest hard-working employees because of stupid mistakes like thi
36 Lufthansa : Well said Arkhem! The voice of reason!
37 Cactus739 : The voice of reason? I'm sure 744 is a great guy. Honest, hardworking and not a druggie. But... He failed a drug test people. They weren't trying to i
38 Lufthansa : This is not an American thing or a British thing. I challenge you Lufthansa. Go apply for a job at Qantas or Air New Zealand. The night before your dr
39 Cactus739 : Bear with me here, I've had a very long day and I'm not sure I understand what you're saying..... Is that if I want to be a pilot and I appoly with Qa
40 Lufthansa : Yep... You got it...that is exactly what I am saying. You see, not everywhere is a zealous with these things as they are in America. Yes, you can go a
41 744 : I recently went to return my uniform over to BA. I met the same manager who had notified me of my codine level. I asked me if I can ever re-apply for
42 744 : Sorry about the errors in prevoius message. Here's the corrected part: I recently went to return my uniform over to BA. I met the same manager who had
43 BestWestern : 744 - give up on this one, and turn a new leaf. Put it behind you as one of lifes many mistakes, and learn from it . The reason why the Station Manage
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