Illicit Drug Positivity Rate Increases Sharply in Workplace Testing, Finds Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ Analysis
The Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index (DTI) shows that the positivity rate for approximately 6.6 million urine drug tests in the general U.S. workforce increased overall by 9.3 percent, to 4.7 percent in 2014 compared to 4.3 percent in 2013. 2013 was the first year since 2003 in which the overall positivity rate for urine drug tests increased in the general U.S. workforce. In addition, overall positivity for oral fluid and hair drug tests, representing approximately 1.1 million tests, increased between 2013 and 2014 in the general U.S. workforce.
"American workers are increasingly testing positive for workforce drug use across almost all workforce categories and drug test specimen types. In the past, we have noted increases in prescription drug positivity rates, but now it seems illicit drug use may be on the rise, according to our data," said Dr.
"The increases in illicit drug positivity in employment drug testing should get employers and policymakers to take notice of the serious risks these drugs create for productivity, health and safety," said
The Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index analyzed urine, oral fluid and hair drug tests performed by
Marijuana Positivity Increases Nationally for the Second Consecutive Year
Marijuana continues to be the most commonly detected illicit drug, according to the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index. Marijuana positivity in the general U.S. workforce increased 14.3 percent (2.4% in 2014 vs. 2.1% in 2013). By comparison, marijuana positivity in the same workforce category increased 5 percent between 2012 and 2013. In the safety-sensitive workforce, marijuana positivity increased 6 percent (0.71% vs. 0.67%) between 2013 and 2014, compared to 5.6 percent between 2012 and 2013. The steady increase in the marijuana positivity rate is consistent with findings from other data sources, such as the
Quest researchers also analyzed urine drug test data for the U.S. workforce from two states with recreational marijuana-use laws. In
"We were surprised that marijuana positivity increased at about the same rate in
Cocaine Positivity Rises Sharply Across All Testing
The Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index analysis showed steady increases in workplace positivity for cocaine in the general U.S. workforce over the past two years, reversing a prolonged period of decline. The positivity rate for cocaine in urine tests increased by 9.1 percent (0.24% vs. 0.22%) between 2013 and 2014. Urine drug tests account for the vast majority of cocaine drug tests. The positivity rate also increased in oral fluid and hair specimens, by 30.6 percent and 13.0 percent, respectively, year over year.
Methamphetamine and Heroin Positivity Rates Continue Upward Trend
Continuing a multi-year upward trend, amphetamines use – specifically the use of methamphetamine – showed an increase across both urine and oral fluid drug tests.
General U.S. workforce data in urine drug tests showed a 7.2 percent year-over-year increase in amphetamines positivity in 2014 compared to 2013 (1.04% vs. 0.97%). In the general U.S. workforce, methamphetamine positivity in urine drug tests increased 21.4 percent (0.17% vs. 0.14%); the positivity rate for oral fluid methamphetamine tests increased 37.5 percent (0.33% vs. 0.24%). Across all specimen types, the positivity rate for amphetamines is now at its highest levels on record and the positivity rate for methamphetamine is at its highest level since 2007.
Amphetamines describe the category, or drug class, that includes both prescription amphetamine drugs like Adderall® and methamphetamine, an illicit drug often known for being produced in clandestine labs. They are a class of central nervous system stimulants that cause increased energy and alertness followed by exhaustion as the effects wear off.
The positivity rate for 6-acetylmorphine, or 6-AM, a specific marker for heroin, doubled in the general U.S. workforce between 2011 and 2014 (to 0.031% in 2014 vs. 0.015% in 2011).
"Our DTI data mirrors research from the National Drug Intelligence Center which also shows that heroin use has increased markedly in recent years. While overall prevalence is low, the escalation in the detection of the 6-AM metabolite indicates heroin use may be growing," said Dr.
The strengths of the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index analysis include its large sample size, the longitudinal nature of the monitoring, a testing population that is generally reflective of the U.S. workforce and the quality of the company's drug testing services to confirm positive results. Limitations include the selection of the testing population, which is reflective only of results from employers that perform drug testing and a lack of exact cross-specimen comparisons due to variations in substances for which employers test. Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index reports involve analysis of de-identified results from urine, oral fluid and hair drug tests.
For more information about the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index, including comprehensive data from the present report, visit www.QuestDiagnostics.com/DTI.
About the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™
The Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index (DTI) reveals insights into patterns of drug use among the American workforce. Published annually for more than 25 years, the Drug Testing Index examines positivity rates for workplace drugs tested by the company on behalf of employers.
The Drug Testing Index © 2001-2015
To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/illicit-drug-positivity-rate-increases-sharply-in-workplace-testing-finds-quest-diagnostics-drug-testing-index-analysis-300095870.html