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Workplace Drug Use Decreased After September 11, 2001, According to Quest Diagnostics' Drug Testing Index


TETERBORO, N.J., Jun 28, 2002 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ -- Workplace drug use decreased after the events of September 11, 2001, according to the semi-annual Drug Testing Index released today by Quest Diagnostics Incorporated (NYSE: DGX), the leading employer of drug testing services in the United States.

The drug positivity rate for the combined U.S. workforce, which is the number of positive test results compared to the total number of drug tests performed by Quest Diagnostics for this category, dropped to 4.4% between September and December 2001, compared to 4.7% during the same time a year earlier. For the full year, the drug positivity rate for this category declined to 4.6% from 4.7% in 2000. The post September 11th reduction drove the decline in positivity for the full year, despite an upturn in on-the-job drug usage documented by the Drug Testing Index among general U.S. workforce employees in the first half of the year.

The Drug Testing Index examines drug positivity rates among three major testing populations: federally-mandated, safety-sensitive workers; the general U.S. workforce; and the combined U.S. workforce. Federally-mandated, safety-sensitive workers include pilots, bus and truck drivers and workers in nuclear power plants, for whom routine drug testing is mandated by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The positivity rate among the general U.S. workforce declined to 4.8% between September and December 2001, from 5.0% during the same period a year earlier. For the full year, drug positivity for this category remained at 4.9%, the same rate seen in 2000. Among general U.S. workforce employees, the majority of drug testing that Quest Diagnostics performs occurs prior to employment, as opposed to while employees are on the job.

"While the drug positivity rate for the combined U.S. workforce declined in 2001, it is too soon to say whether a downward trend toward lower drug use will continue," said Barry Sample, Ph.D., Director of Science and Technology for Quest Diagnostics' Corporate Health and Wellness division. "The results for 2001 may be an aberration given the events of September 11th."

The positivity rate for federally-mandated safety-sensitive workers continued to decrease to 2.7%, an all-time low, between September and December 2001, from 3.0% between September and December 2000. For the full year, drug positivity for this category declined to 2.9% from 3.1% in 2000.

The Drug Testing Index is based on approximately 6.3 million tests performed during 2001 by Quest Diagnostics.

Color graphics of the Drug Testing Index, including regional maps which show positivity rates by type of drug, are available on-line at to provide more localized workplace drug test data. The Drug Testing Index is released every six months as a service for government, media and industry, and is considered a benchmark for national trends.

Quest Diagnostics Incorporated is the nation's leading provider of diagnostic testing, information and services, providing insights that enable physicians, hospitals, managed care organizations and other healthcare professionals to make decisions to improve health. The company offers the broadest access to diagnostic laboratory services through its national network of laboratories and patient service centers. Quest Diagnostics is the leading provider of esoteric testing, including gene-based medical testing, and empowers healthcare organizations and clinicians with state-of-the-art connectivity solutions that improve practice management. Additional company information can be found on the Internet at:

                           Annual Positivity Rates

                        (For Combined U.S. Workforce)
         (More than 6.3 million tests from January to December 2001)

              Year                    Drug Positive Rate
              1988                          13.6 %
              1989                          12.7 %
              1990                          11.0 %
              1991                           8.8 %
              1992                           8.8 %
              1993                           8.4 %
              1994                           7.5 %
              1995                           6.7 %
              1996                           5.8 %
              1997                           5.0 %
              1998                           4.8 %
              1999                           4.6 %
              2000                           4.7 %
              2001                           4.6 %

                     Positivity Rates By Testing Category

    Testing Category                    2001    2000    1999    1998    1997
     Safety-Sensitive Workforce         2.9 %   3.1 %   3.2 %   3.4 %   3.5 %
    General U.S. Workforce              4.9 %   4.9 %   4.8 %   5.0 %   5.2 %
    Combined U.S. Workforce             4.6 %   4.7 %   4.6 %   4.8 %   5.0 %

Media - Jennifer Somers, +1-201-393-5454, Investors - Laure Park, +1-201-393-5030, both of Quest Diagnostics Incorporated


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