Workforce Drug Test Positivity Rate Increases for the First Time in 10 Years, Driven by Marijuana and Amphetamines, Finds Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ Analysis of Employment Drug Tests
The Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index (DTI) shows that the positivity rate for 7.6 million urine drug tests in the combined U.S. workforce increased to 3.7 percent in 2013, compared to 3.5 percent in 2012. The relative increase of 5.7 percent year-over-year is the first time the positivity rate for combined national workplace urine drug tests has increased since 2003.
"After years of declines, the prevalence of positive workforce drug tests is increasing," said Dr.
The 2013 Drug Testing Index analyzed urine, oral fluid and hair drug tests performed by
Marijuana Positivity Increases 6.2 Percent Nationally in Urine Drug Tests, but by Double Digits in
Marijuana continues to be the most commonly detected illicit drug, according to the DTI analysis of urine drug tests. Marijuana positivity in the combined U.S. workforce increased 6.2 percent, to 1.7 percent in 2013 compared to 1.6 percent in 2012. In the safety-sensitive workforce, marijuana positivity increased 5.6 percent (0.67% vs. 0.63%). In the general U.S. workforce, the positivity rate increased 5 percent, to 2.1 percent in 2013 compared to 2.0 percent in the prior year. These increased positivity rates are consistent with findings from the 2012
An analysis of urine drug test data for the combined U.S. workforce from the two states with "recreational" use laws –
"What we do know is that workforce positivity for marijuana is definitely on the rise across
Detection of Recent Usage of Marijuana Continues to Increase Significantly in Oral Fluid Testing
In addition to urine drug tests for marijuana, Quest also provides oral fluid testing, and for the second consecutive year, DTI data showed a marked increase in marijuana detection in oral fluid. Oral fluid positivity rates for marijuana climbed 27 percent (5.1% vs. 4.0%) in 2013 compared to 2012 after a dramatic increase of 48 percent (4.0% vs. 2.7%) in 2012 compared to 2011. While the trend of higher positivity rates may be partially attributed to an uptick in marijuana use among testing subjects, other variables including observed collections associated with oral fluid testing and the introduction of
Methamphetamine Positivity Increases Across All Testing Types
Amphetamines are a class of central nervous system stimulants that includes methamphetamine (best known for being produced in clandestine labs) and prescription medications for conditions such as ADHD and narcolepsy.
Continuing a multi-year upward trend, amphetamines use – specifically the use of methamphetamine – showed an increase across all three specimen types. Combined U.S. workforce data in urine showed a 10 percent (0.85% vs. 0.77%) year-over-year increase in amphetamines positivity in 2013 compared to 2012. In the U.S. general workforce, methamphetamine positivity in urine drug tests increased 27 percent (0.14% vs. 0.11%); oral fluid methamphetamine positivity increased by 50 percent (0.24% vs. 0.16%). In addition, the positivity rate in hair testing jumped by 55 percent (1.2% vs. 0.77%). Amphetamines positivity rates are now at their highest levels on record and methamphetamine positivity rates are at their highest levels since 2007, across all specimen types.
Oxycodones Positivity Declines for the Second Consecutive Year
The DTI data also reported declines for prescription opiates positivity in urine drug tests. Prescription opiates refer to drugs used for pain management, such as hydrocodone and oxycodones. The current data shows oxycodones positivity declined 8.3 percent (0.88% vs. 0.96%) between 2013 and 2012 and 12.7 percent (0.96% vs. 1.1%) between 2012 and 2011 in the combined U.S. workforce. Four states experienced double-digit declines in oxycodones positivity rates in both 2013 and 2012:
The strengths of the DTI 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. DTI 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, visit www.QuestDiagnostics.com/DTI.
About the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™
The Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index gauges positivity trends based on workforce drug tests. The findings are published as a public service for government, media and industry and are considered a benchmark for national trends in workplace drug use. DTI reports examine positivity rates for workplace drugs tested by the company on behalf of employers among three major testing populations: federally mandated safety-sensitive workers; the general workforce; and the combined U.S. workforce. For more information, visit
www.QuestDiagnostics.com/DTI or www.EmployerSolutions.com.
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