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Drug Use Climbed in the U.S. Workforce in the First Half of 2003, Driven by Continued Growth in Use of Amphetamines, According to Quest Diagnostics' Drug Testing Index

11/05/3

TETERBORO, N.J., Nov. 5 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/- Drug use in the general U.S. workforce climbed in the first half of 2003, driven by continued growth in the use of amphetamines, according to the semi-annual Drug Testing Index released today by Quest Diagnostics Incorporated (NYSE: DGX), the leading provider of employer drug testing services in the United States.

The Drug Testing Index summarizes the results of workplace drug tests performed by Quest Diagnostics between January and June 2003. The Drug Testing Index examines positivity rates among three major testing populations: federally-mandated, safety-sensitive workers; the general 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.

For general U.S. workforce employees, the drug positivity rate, which is the proportion of positive test results to all drug tests performed by Quest Diagnostics for this category, increased to 5.0% between January and June 2003, from 4.8% between January and December 2002. At the same time, the incidence of amphetamine positivity increased by 35%, reaching 0.46% of all drug tests that look for amphetamine use among this group of workers. Between January and December 2002 amphetamine positivity was 0.34%.(1)

Among federally-mandated, safety-sensitive employees, overall drug positivity remained the same during the same period at 2.5%, an all-time low since 1998. Amphetamine positivity increased slightly to 0.29% between January and June 2003 from 0.28% between January and December 2002.

"Half the increase in drug positivity among general U.S. workforce employees was driven by their growing use of amphetamines," said Barry Sample, Ph.D., Director of Science and Technology for Quest Diagnostics' Corporate Health and Wellness division. "While the Drug Testing Index did detect increases in drug use from other drug classes, these increases were significantly smaller."

Amphetamines belong to a category of drugs known as stimulants, which are used to increase alertness, relieve fatigue and help people feel stronger and more decisive. Stimulants are also used for euphoric effects or to counteract the "down" feeling of tranquilizers or alcohol. Possible side effects of stimulants include increased heart and respiratory rates, elevated blood pressure, dilated pupils and decreased appetite; high doses may cause rapid or irregular heartbeat, loss of coordination or collapse.(2)

Illegal methamphetamine use and trafficking that began during the last decade is now an epidemic sweeping the nation, according to recently published Congressional testimony, which outlined domestic and international initiatives being implemented to target methamphetamine production and distribution.(3) Methamphetamine is a type of amphetamine.

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 grew to 4.6% between January and June 2003, compared to 4.4% between January and December 2002. The increase in drug use in the combined U.S. workforce was a reflection of growing amphetamine use among general workforce employees. Quest Diagnostics performed more than 3.4 million workplace drug tests from January to June 2003.

Color graphics of the Drug Testing Index, including regional maps which show positivity rates by type of drug, are available on-line at www.questdiagnostics.com 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 healthcare professionals to make decisions that improve health. The company offers the broadest access to diagnostic testing services in the United States through its national network of laboratories and patient service centers, and provides interpretive consultation through its extensive medical and scientific staff. Quest Diagnostics is the leading provider of esoteric testing, including gene-based medical testing, and also empowers healthcare organizations and clinicians with state-of-the-art connectivity solutions that improve patient care. Additional company information is available at: www.questdiagnostics.com.

The Drug Testing Index (C) 2003 Quest Diagnostics Incorporated. All rights reserved.

     (1) The Drug Testing Index does not differentiate between drug abuse and
         legitimate drug use.

     (2) Source:  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and SAMHSA's
         National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information, Drug
         Category Profile: Stimulants,
         http://ncadi.samhsa.gov/govpubs/rpo926/.

     (3) Source:  DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration), Congressional
         Testimony, Statement of Rogelio E. Guevara, Chief of Operations, Drug
         Enforcement Administration Before the House Committee on Government
         Reform Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human
         Resources, July 18, 2003.


    Annual Positivity Rates
                        (For Combined U.S. Workforce)
           (More than 3.4 million tests from January to June 2003)

                         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%
                         2002                   4.4%
                 January - June 2003            4.6%


    Positivity Rates By Testing Category

    Testing Category               January -   2002     2001     2000     1999
                                   June 2003
    Federally Mandated, Safety-
     Sensitive Workforce              2.5%     2.5%     2.9%     3.1%     3.2%
    General U.S. Workforce            5.0%     4.8%     4.9%     4.9%     4.8%
    Combined U.S. Workforce           4.6%     4.4%     4.6%     4.7%     4.6%


    Positivity Rates By Testing Reason
    (For Federally-Mandated, Safety-Sensitive Workforce)
    (More than 600,000 tests from January to June 2003)

    Testing Reason   January -     2002        2001         2000       1999
                     June 2003
    For Cause          13.6%       14.3%       14.4%        14.8%      14.0%
    Periodic           0.76%       0.95%        1.1%         1.1%       1.1%
    Post-Accident       3.1%        3.3%        3.6%         3.9%       3.7%
    Pre-Employment      3.0%        2.9%        3.4%         3.6%       3.7%
    Random              1.9%        1.9%        2.2%         2.4%       2.6%
    Returned to Duty    2.7%        3.4%        3.5%         3.8%       4.4%


    Postivity Rates By Testing Reason
    (For General U.S. Workforce)
    (More than 2.8 million tests from January to June 2003)

    Testing Reason   January -     2002        2001         2000       1999
                     June 2003
    For Cause          27.8%       25.9%       26.1%        25.7%      24.7%
    Periodic            2.3%        2.7%        3.4%         4.4%       4.5%
    Post-Accident       5.7%        5.9%        6.0%         5.9%       5.6%
    Pre-Employment      4.2%        4.3%        4.4%         4.5%       4.5%
    Random              6.5%        6.5%        7.0%         7.7%       6.9%
    Returned to Duty    5.3%        5.6%        5.3%         5.3%       5.5%


    Positivity Rates By Drug Category
    (For Federally-Mandated, Safety-Sensitive Workforce, as a percentage of
     all such tests)
    (More than 600,000 tests from January to June 2003)

    Drug Category      January -      2002       2001        2000       1999
                       June 2003
    Amphetamines          0.29%       0.28%      0.29%       0.27%      0.26%
    Cocaine               0.58%       0.56%      0.60%       0.64%      0.71%
    Marijuana             1.39%       1.44%      1.72%       1.92%      1.86%
    Opiates               0.19%       0.19%      0.26%       0.25%      0.27%
    PCP                   0.04%       0.04%      0.05%       0.06%      0.05%
    Oxidizing
    Adulterants
     (incl. Nitrites)     0.04%       0.05%      0.05%       0.10%      0.21%
    Substitution          0.06%       0.05%      0.02%       0.03%      0.03%


    Positivity Rates By Drug Category
    (For General U.S. Workforce, as a percentage of all such tests)
    (More than 2.8 million tests from January to June 2003)

    Drug Category      January -      2002       2001        2000       1999
                       June 2003
    Amphetamines         0.46%       0.34%      0.29%       0.25%      0.22%
    Barbiturates         0.29%       0.30%      0.34%       0.38%      0.44%
    Benzodiazepines      0.60%       0.58%      0.60%       0.55%      0.50%
    Cocaine              0.74%       0.71%      0.69%       0.73%      0.80%
    Marijuana            3.02%       2.98%      3.17%       3.29%      3.17%
    Methadone            0.20%       0.16%      0.13%       0.13%      0.08%
    Opiates              0.34%       0.27%      0.29%       0.27%      0.26%
    PCP                  0.03%       0.02%      0.02%       0.02%      0.02%
    Propoxyphene         0.69%       0.73%      0.52%       0.36%      0.33%
    Oxidizing
    Adulterants
     (incl. Nitrites)    0.02%       0.05%      0.05%       0.10%      0.23%
    Substitution         0.03%       0.03%      0.03%       0.03%      0.04%


    Positivity Rates By Drug Category
    (For Federally-Mandated, Safety-Sensitive Workers, as a Percentage of All
     Positives)
    (More than 600,000 tests from January to June 2003)

    Drug Category      January -      2002       2001        2000       1999
                       June 2003
    Acid/Base            0.38%       0.45%      0.32%       0.16%      0.46%
    Amphetamines         11.1%       10.8%       9.6%        8.3%       7.7%
    Cocaine              22.0%       21.1%      20.0%       19.6%      21.2%
    Marijuana            54.7%       56.0%      58.3%       60.2%      56.9%
    Opiates               7.4%        7.3%       8.5%        7.8%       8.0%
    Oxidizing
    Adulterants
     (incl. Nitrites)    0.65%       0.90%      0.82%        1.4%       3.1%
    PCP                   1.6%        1.5%       1.7%        1.7%       1.6%
    Substituted           2.3%        1.9%      0.77%       0.77%      0.96%


    Positivity Rates By Drug Category
    (For General U.S. Workforce, as a Percentage of All Positives)
    (More than 2.8 million tests from January to June 2003)

    Drug Category      January -      2002       2001        2000       1999
                       June 2003
    Acid/Base            0.17%       0.25%      0.23%       0.07%      0.14%
    Amphetamines          8.5%        6.7%       5.5%        4.8%       4.3%
    Barbiturates          2.8%        2.9%       3.2%        3.5%       3.7%
    Benzodiazepines       5.2%        5.0%       5.0%        4.2%       3.3%
    Cocaine              13.7%       13.9%      13.2%       13.9%      15.8%
    Marijuana            55.4%       57.7%      60.9%       63.0%      62.6%
    Methadone             1.5%        1.2%      0.98%       0.89%      0.45%
    Methaqualone         0.00%       0.00%      0.00%       0.00%      0.00%
    Opiates               6.2%        5.3%       5.5%        5.2%       5.1%
    Oxidizing
    Adulterants
     (incl. Nitrites)    0.22%       0.48%      0.51%       0.88%       1.6%
    PCP                  0.51%       0.47%      0.46%       0.45%      0.35%
    Propoxyphene          5.2%        5.6%       4.0%        2.5%       2.0%
    Substituted          0.60%       0.54%      0.48%       0.56%      0.80%


    Positivity Rates By Drug Category
    (For Combined U.S. Workforce, as a Percentage of All Positives)
    (More than 3.4 million tests from January to June 2003)

    Drug Category      January -      2002       2001        2000       1999
                       June 2003
    Acid/Base            0.19%       0.27%      0.24%       0.08%      0.16%
    Amphetamines          8.8%        7.1%       5.9%        5.1%       4.5%
    Barbiturates          2.5%        2.6%       2.9%        3.2%       3.4%
    Benzodiazepines       4.7%        4.5%       4.5%        3.9%       3.1%
    Cocaine              14.5%       14.6%      13.9%       14.4%      16.2%
    Marijuana            55.3%       57.6%      60.6%       62.8%      62.2%
    Methadone             1.4%        1.1%      0.88%       0.82%      0.42%
    Methaqualone         0.00%       0.00%      0.00%       0.00%      0.00%
    Opiates               6.3%        5.5%       5.8%        5.4%       5.3%
    Oxidizing
    Adulterants
     (incl. Nitrites)    0.26%       0.52%      0.54%       0.92%       1.7%
    PCP                  0.61%       0.58%      0.59%       0.56%      0.44%
    Propoxyphene          4.7%        5.1%       3.5%        2.3%       1.8%
    Substituted          0.76%       0.68%      0.51%       0.58%      0.81%

SOURCE Quest Diagnostics Incorporated
-0- 11/05/2003
/CONTACT: Media - Jennifer Somers, +1-201-393-5700, or Investors - Laure
Park, +1-201-393-5030, both for Quest Diagnostics Incorporated /
/Web site: http://www.questdiagnostics.com /
(DGX)

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