Positive Drug Tests in U.S. Workforce Rise to Highest Level in a Decade

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Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

The percentage of employees in the U.S. workforce receiving positive results in workplace drug tests has steadily increased over the last three years to reach the highest level in 10 years, according to an analysis of nearly 11 million workforce drug tests released by Quest Diagnostics.

The Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index (DTI)™ examines illicit drug use by the U.S. workforce based on an analysis of the results of more than 9.5 million urine, 900,000 oral fluid, and 200,000 hair laboratory-based drug tests performed nationally by the company for employers in 2015.

DTI data from 2015 shows the positivity rate for 9.5 million urine drug tests in the U.S. workforce increased to four percent. The last year that the positivity rate for urine drug tests in the combined U.S. workforce was at or above four percent was 2005, when it reached 4.1 percent.

The DTI found the rate of amphetamine, marijuana, and heroin detection in drug tests in the U.S. workforce increased annually over the past five years in urine testing, with amphetamine increasing 44 percent, marijuana increasing 26 percent, and heroin increasing 146 percent since 2011.

In addition, the rising positivity rate for post-accident urine drug tests increased 6.2 percent in 2015 when compared to 2014 and 30 percent since 2011. Post-accident positivity for drug tests of safety-sensitive workers rose 22 percent during a five-year time period (2.8% in 2015 versus 2.3% in 2011).

The findings of the DTI were unveiled at the Substance Abuse Program Administrators Association (SAPAA) annual conference held in Louisville, Kentucky. The news release from Quest Diagnostics is available at www.questdiagnostics.com/home/physicians/health-trends/drug-testing.

The Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index (DTI) examines results of drug tests according to three categories of workers: federally mandated safety-sensitive workers, the general workforce, and the combined U.S. workforce. For more information about the DTI, visit www.QuestDiagnostics.com/DTI.

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