While Keystone RV Co.’s swift action in confronting potential drug use at one of its manufacturing plants was commended by the Elkhart, Ind., County prosecutor, he was quick to note that the problem was not isolated to the RV community.
“I don’t want to suggest that the problem is tied into RV manufacturers,” said Curtis T. Hill.
According to a report in the South Bend Tribune, Hill said demand for illegal substances comes from various places and goes across professions.
He added that by conducting a plantwide screening, which resulted in 40 of 120 employees testing positive, Keystone is showing its commitment to a drug-free environment.
“Losing 40 people can really affect the bottom line,” he said.
Hill said Keystone is by far leading the way among local companies in aggressively curbing employee drug abuse.
Former Elkhart County prosecutor Maryellen Baker Scelsi said she wasn’t surprised by the news. She has represented her share of drug users who were employed in the manufacturing industry, and there is an obvious link.
“It’s pretty common,” Scelsi said about drug use in industrial work.
One of the reasons, Scelsi said, is that drugs such as methamphetamine aid in speed and productivity, which are large advantages in manufacturing work.
But Ken Julian, human resources manager at Goshen-based Keystone, said until last week he had not seen a significant link between employees and drug use.
“I would say this is definitely the first time,” Julian said.
Keystone RV Co. Inc. tested all 120 of its employees at Plant No. 304 in Goshen last week after receiving a tip from Goshen police.
Nearly one-third of them tested positive for marijuana, cocaine, amphetamine or methamphetamine during the drug screening, the company said.
Company policies at Keystone RV require that all new employees are pre-screened, and employees are tested for drugs post-accident, Julian said, but this was the first time there has been plantwide testing.
“We’ve never really had a problem that has come to our attention like this one,” Julian said.
The company has an ongoing relationship with Goshen and Elkhart County police, Julian said, which alerted them to possible drug abuse in this instance.