An Iranian coal miner poses for a photograph at a mine near the city of Zirab (Ebrahim Noroozi, AP)

In two years, more than 550 W.Va. coal miners failed drug tests for Rx, pot

Charleston, W.Va. — In the last two years, more than 550 West Virginia coal miners have temporarily lost their mining certifications because they failed a drug test.

State Office of Miner’s Health, Safety and Training Eugene White released the numbers to a legislative panel Monday.

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Over that timeframe, 79 mine workers were reinstated and 67 are currently in a treatment plan.

After not responding to temporary suspension letters at all, 269 miners are facing three-year suspensions.

White’s report says prescription drugs are the main problem. Marijuana is second.

A wide-sweeping mine safety law that took effect in January 2013 requires coal mine operators and certain employers to screen for substance abuse.