Why Does Employee Drug Use Matter?

by Pablo Bolanos on April 27, 2015

Dr. Barry Sample, Director of Science and Technology at Quest Diagnostics Employer Solutions, recently wrote an article for Risk Management Monitor, a publication that offers insight to professionals in the risk management and insurance industry. The article highlights current drug use trends and how they affect the workplace.

Employee.jpgData from the 2013 Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ (DTI) – a report which examines positivity data based on the results of 8.5 million urine, oral fluid and hair drug tests in the United States – showed the percentage of employees who tested positive for drugs increased for the first time in 10 years. This data is relevant when considering an employee drug testing program, a correlation Dr. Sample further supports in the article by providing key findings from the DTI:

  • Marijuana continues to be the most commonly detected illicit drug
  • Methamphetamine positivity increased by 50% in oral fluid tests
  • Positivity rates for amphetamines are at an all-time high
  • In the combined U.S. workforce, Marijuana positivity increased 6.2%, to 1.7% in 2013 compared to 1.6% in 2012
  • Marijuana positivity rates in Colorado and Washington increased 20% and 23% respectively, in comparison to the 5% average increase among the U.S. general workforce in all 50 states

In the article, Dr. Sample discusses the impacts that employee drug use can have on the workplace. While the costs of substance abuse are significant, studies also show that drug-using employees are 2.5 times more likely to miss work and 5 times more likely to file a workers compensation claim. As a result of these striking statistics, many employers elect to manage their risk by implementing comprehensive drug-free workplace programs which have been shown to improve productivity, workplace safety and even employee morale.

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

 

 

 

Science and Cyborgs with Dr. Barry Sample

by Nicole Jupe on April 24, 2015

C-3PODr. Barry Sample, Director of Science and Technology at Quest Diagnostics, is usually busy presenting on workplace drug use trends at industry conferences, fielding interviews with national media outlets or inspecting toxicology laboratories around the world. Yet, his most recent Q&A was via Skype to an audience of fourth and fifth graders gathered in a New York City classroom. Students were excited to talk to a drug testing expert about their recent studies on the impacts of drug use.

Dr. Sample’s first question was anything but typical.  A young man asked, “With cyborgs becoming more prevalent, will this help to reduce future drug use because people will be more robotic?” After a quiet chuckle, Dr. Sample assumed he could be asked almost anything.

Students were prepared in advance with questions on drug consumption, performance-enhancing substances and impaired driving. Hina, another student, inquired about how transportation workers are monitored. Zikui worried about school bus drivers who may overuse caffeine or other legal drugs. In response, Dr. Sample explained the rules and regulations established by the Department of Transportation (DOT) to screen transportation employees in an effort to keep the public safe.

Other questions focused on ethics and scientific advancements. One student asked what current drug “enhancers” exist to alter how humans function. Another asked if parents should have the right to choose to give IQ or mood boosting drugs to their children. Rahma wanted to know if neurostimulation drugs could be used to improve grades and test scores. And Nicholai asked if physicians should be responsible for any and all drugs and treatments their patients received and how to detect if people took the correct, prescribed medications.

Knowing that Dr. Sample serves as a member of anti-doping committees including running the laboratory that did drug testing for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, a number of students wondered about athletes testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, including steroids, and why sports figures would risk their reputations and their careers. Marwa was curious about how to recognize if an athlete is using an illegal substance. Another student wanted to learn more about the measures being used to prevent athletes from using drugs.

Not surprisingly, the students were focused on what Quest Diagnostics is focused on: how to keep people safe, healthy and drug-free. Students inquired about how to stop people from ever taking drugs and how to educate others about the harmful consequences that result from drug use.

Dr. Sample was delighted to share his thoughts with a class that was passionate about science. “Who knows,” Dr. Sample mused, “maybe there was a budding scientist in the class who will one day change the future of drug testing or discover a breakthrough that will help to keep our world safe from drug abuse,” – like a drug testing cyborg perhaps.

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

Series: Assessing Drug Use Trends in the United States – Opiates

April 22, 2015 Illicit Drugs

Due 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 […]

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Lab Week Heroes

April 20, 2015 Industry News

Our everyday heroes work behind the scenes in our laboratories. They play a vital role in the critical testing we perform to help put drug-free candidates to work for businesses across the country. To our lab employees, being there means delivering accurate results with the fastest turnaround times possible. This year Lab Week is April […]

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Series: Assessing Drug Use Trends in the United States – Amphetamines

April 17, 2015 Illicit Drugs

Due 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 […]

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Regulated Electronic Custody and Control Form (eCCF) Use Approved

April 15, 2015 Industry News

For more than half a decade, non-regulated employers have used the Quest Diagnostics electronic requisition (eReq) solution to manage their drug testing processes online. Today, nearly one third of all the non-regulated drug tests that we perform are ordered using paperless processes. Our online solutions provide numerous advantages for employers and collection sites including: Fewer […]

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Series: Assessing Drug Use Trends in the United States – Heroin

April 9, 2015 Illicit Drugs

Due 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 […]

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Experts Present Instant Drug Testing Webinar

April 8, 2015 Instant Testing

A better understanding of your drug screening options can help your organization employ and maintain a drug-free workforce. Two such options, instant and lab-based drug testing, have the features and flexibility you may need to have a successful program. As you evaluate these options, it’s important to understand all of the criteria that will enable […]

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Series: Assessing Drug Use Trends in the United States – Cocaine

April 3, 2015 Illicit Drugs

Due 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 […]

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April is Alcohol Awareness Month

April 2, 2015 Alcohol

For nearly three decades, Alcohol Awareness Month has been observed in April. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) created this campaign “to increase public awareness and understanding aimed at reducing the stigma associated with alcoholism that too often prevents individuals and families from seeking help.” To kick things off, the NCADD encourages […]

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