marijuana.jpgDue to the increasing use and abuse of illicit and prescription drugs, employers, public policy decision makers, law enforcement, media and the general public all have an interest in assessing past, current and emerging drug use trends. As such, this installment in our Assessing Drug Use Trends in the United States series uses several renowned sources of drug use data to reveal the latest trends in marijuana use.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), marijuana remains the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States with an estimated 19.8 million users. Current usage rates were similar between 2002 and 2009 and have shown steady increases through 2013. While the usage rates in 2012 and 2013 were similar, they are significantly higher than 2002 through 2011. Similarly, usage among respondents not subject to drug testing by their employer showed similar rates between 2002 and 2009 with sharp increases since that time. In contrast, among those subject to drug testing, current usage was similar between 2002 and 2011 and increased in 2012. This data represents a greater than 60% higher usage of marijuana among those not subject to drug testing.

Workplace urine drug testing data from the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ (DTI) revealed declining positivity rates between 1999 and 2011 but an increase of 5% or more in both 2012 and 2013. Compared to oral fluid testing, urine positivity rates were higher in 2003 and 2004, rates were approximately equal in 2005 through 2007, and oral fluid positivity rates have been higher than urine since 2008. In 2013, oral fluid positivity for marijuana was 5.1% compared with 2.1% in urine drug tests. This rate is also higher than hair (4.3%) and is all the more remarkable given the shorter detection window for marijuana in oral fluid drug tests compared with both urine and hair. A significant driver for these findings could be that oral fluid collections are observed while urine drug test collections are not. According to the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), marijuana remains the second most frequently mentioned illicit substance in ER visits, behind cocaine, increasing 19% between 2009 and 2011.

Data from the National Forensic Laboratory Information System (NFLIS) shows declines in cannabis/THC identifications between 2009 and the first half of 2013 in all regions of the country. However, it remains the most commonly reported drug in the Midwest (40%), Northeast (34%) and South (29%).

Of increasing interest to employers are the seemingly relaxing attitudes towards marijuana. There are currently 23 states with “medical” marijuana statutes, two of which also permit “recreational” use. An analysis of urine drug test data from the those two states – Colorado and Washington – showed marijuana positivity rates increased 20% and 23%, respectively, in the general workforce between 2012 and 2013, compared to the 5% average increase among the U.S. general workforce in all fifty states. However, both Colorado and Washington experienced dramatic increases in marijuana positivity rates prior to legalization at the end of 2012. From 2009 to 2010, Colorado experienced a 22% increase and Washington a 10% decline in positivity. From 2011 to 2012, Colorado experienced a 3% increase and Washington an 8% increase in positivity. Consequently, it is too early to predict the longer term impact on employer drug test positivity in states with recreational and/or medical marijuana statutes.

To learn more about drug testing, visit our website or contact us online.

Join us over the next few weeks as we use five renowned sources of drug use data to compare and contrast the latest trends in illicit drug use. Read the introductory post to learn more about this series.

marijuana.jpgAccording to the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ (DTI), marijuana continues to be the most commonly detected illicit drug in urine tests. Data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health reveals that the number of people in the U.S. who use marijuana on a daily basis – 20 or more days out of the previous 30 – increased from 5.1 million in 2007 to 8.1 million in 2013. With changes in marijuana legislation and a rise in marijuana use, it is important for researchers to study and understand the effects that this drug has on the day-to-day behavior of its users.

In a recent two-week study conducted by the Yale School of Medicine, 43 recreational marijuana users – those who use marijuana at least 4.5 days out of the previous 30 – answered daily survey questions using smartphone-administered assessments. Data from these assessments was used to analyze the participants’ changes in impulsivity and hostility in relation to marijuana use.

The study revealed that its participants displayed an increase in impulsivity on the days in which marijuana was used and the day after its use. The data also revealed a correlation between marijuana use and increased hostile behaviors and perceptions of hostility in others. Read the full article to see additional details.

Workplace drug testing programs help protect employers from the unwanted impacts of drug abuse – including the increased potential for impulsivity and hostility. To learn more about drug testing, visit our website or contact us online.

Series: Assessing Drug Use Trends in the United States

March 17, 2015 Industry News

The use and abuse of illicit and prescription drugs is a persistent problem in the United States and has been for decades. For this reason, employers, public policy decision makers, law enforcement, media and the general public all have an interest in assessing past, current and emerging drug use trends. Unfortunately, there is no single […]

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States and Counties Sue Colorado Over Marijuana Laws

March 14, 2015 Illicit Drugs

The Controlled Substances Act lists marijuana as a Schedule I drug, meaning it has no accepted medical value and has a high potential for abuse. Yet in November 2012, Colorado voters passed Amendment 64 allowing people 21 and older to consume or possess a limited amount of marijuana. This law has presented challenges for counties […]

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Lenexa, KS – Quest Diagnostics Rising Star

March 9, 2015 Quest News

On March 4, 2015, Quest Diagnostics CEO Steve Rusckowski visited our Lenexa laboratory to share his perspectives on the state of the business and to unveil the company’s new vision and brand identity. “We have a new logo and a new tagline: Action from Insight. It’s all driven around the notion that whatever we provide […]

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Changing Perceptions of Marijuana and Synthetic Marijuana

March 5, 2015 Synthetic Drugs

Perceived risk is studied as a metric in the annual Monitoring the Future survey. The survey asks U.S. 12th graders about seeing “great risk” in regularly using a particular illicit drug. In the March issue of CESAR FAX, data is featured showing that high school students’ perception of risk associated with occasional marijuana use is declining while […]

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Winter Storm May Cause Delays

March 4, 2015 Industry News

Due to inclement weather, FedEx has reported disruptions and shipping delays in several regions across the United States. Please be aware that this hazardous weather may impact the logistics and travel of drug testing specimens – including urine, oral fluid and hair. Quest Diagnostics Patient Service Centers (PSCs) and laboratories in these regions may adjust […]

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Introducing Express Results™ Online

February 23, 2015 Quest News

Do you need to quickly determine if a job candidate is drug-free? Do you want a test panel that screens for a variety of commonly-used drugs? Would you prefer to let a trained collector administer the drug test? Quest Diagnostics now offers Express Results Online, an instant, urine drug testing solution designed to deliver fast, dependable results – […]

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Quest Diagnostics – One of Fortune Magazine’s Most Admired Companies

February 20, 2015 Quest News

Quest Diagnostics is once again recognized by Fortune Magazine as one of the world’s most admired healthcare companies in 2015. With high marks for Innovation and global competitiveness, Quest stands out as the only diagnostic information services company to make the list. The Most Admired companies list is the result of a robust survey where […]

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Name that Drug: Lifting the Veil on Drugs in Disguise

February 18, 2015 Industry News

DATIA focus is the quarterly publication of the Drug & Alcohol Testing Industry Association (DATIA). DATIA focus features a regular, popular column titled, “Name that Drug” where interesting facts about a mystery drug are described in advance of the name being revealed. The latest edition of “Name that Drug” was written by Dr. Kimberly Samano, […]

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