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WorkForce Drug Positivity Rate Hits a 14 Year High in 2018

April 16, 2019

Urine drug testing positivity rate increased nearly 5 percent in the United States workforce for 2018. This is the highest level since 2004 and is 25 percent higher than the thirty-year low recorded between 2010 and 2012. An analysis of more than 10 million United States Workforce drug test results showed increases in Marijuana positivity across all employee testing categories. Post-Accident positivity outpaced all categories, including pre-employment screening. The Post-Accident positivity rate jumped more than 51 percent year-over-year.


"Our in-depth analysis shows that Marijuana is not only present in our workforce, but use continues to increase. As Marijuana policy changes, and employers consider strategies to protect their employees, customers and general public, employers should weigh the risks that drug use, including Marijuana, poses to their business", said Barry Sample, PhD, Senior Director of Science and Technology, Quest Diagnostics.


Also in 2018, there was a significant rise in urine specimens reported as Invalid due to inconsistency with normal human urine, suggesting attempts at specimen adulteration or substitution. It also suggests more efforts to "cheat the test". The percentage of invalid results increased by 60 percent from 2017 to 2018.


However, there is good news. The positivity rates for Opiates and Cocaine declined over the same time period. The Opiate positivity rate declined by 21 percent. This was the largest decline in 3 years.  The Cocaine positivity rate declined almost 7 percent in urine, but increased slightly in hair testing.


"Increases in Post-Accident positivity among safety-sensitive workers should serve as a warning to employers that employees that employee drug use may increase the risk of workforce accidents or injuries. Our analysis suggests that employers committed to creating a safe, drug-free work environment should incorporate strategies that monitor drug use above and beyond pre-emplymen drug screen," said Kimberly Samano, PhD, Scientific Director at Quest Diagnostics.


SOURCE: Quest Diagnostics

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