Marijuana Positivity Increases

by Nicole Jupe on October 1, 2014

Drug testingMarijuana continues to be the most commonly detected illicit drug, according to the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ (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 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), which showed an increase in self-reported past-month marijuana use between 2007 and 2012.

An analysis of urine drug test data for the combined U.S. workforce from the two states with “recreational” use laws – Colorado and Washington – showed marijuana positivity rates increased 20 and 23 percent, respectively, in the general workforce between 2012 and 2013, compared to the 5 percent 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 percent increase and Washington a 10 percent decline in positivity. From 2011 to 2012, Colorado experienced a 3 percent increase and Washington an 8 percent increase in positivity.

“Washington and Colorado are believed by many to foreshadow future trends in ‘recreational’ marijuana use. While Quest’s Drug Testing Index shows dramatic spikes in marijuana positivity rates over the past year, a longer view of the data suggests a more complex picture,” said Dr. Barry Sample, Director, Science and Technology. “It is possible that relaxed societal views of marijuana use in those two states, relative to others, may in part be responsible for the recent increase in positivity rates. Yet, this doesn’t explain why both states also experienced steep rises – and declines – in positivity in recent years. We will be very interested to see how our data evolves over the next year or two in these two states relative to those that have not legalized so-called ‘recreational’ marijuana.

“What we do know is that workforce positivity for marijuana is definitely on the rise across the United States. It is important for people to remember that while some states have legalized marijuana, the federal government has not. Employers generally have the authority to restrict the ‘recreational’ use of marijuana by employees and impose sanctions, including termination, on employees with positive drug tests in all 50 states,” added Dr. Sample.

Read the full release at or download the new Drug Testing Index brochure. You can also subscribe to get email updates of the latest DTI information.

Positivity Is Up for the First Time in a Decade

by Nicole Jupe on September 25, 2014

Quest drug testing labThe Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ (DTI) measures positivity trends based on workplace drug test results. The findings are published as a public service for government, media and industry and are considered a benchmark for national trends.

The latest data 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. Quest Diagnostics has analyzed annual workplace drug testing data since 1988

“After years of declines, the prevalence of positive workforce drug tests is increasing,” said Dr. Barry Sample, Director of Science and Technology, Quest Diagnostics. “This increase indicates that employers should be aware of the potential for drug use by their workers and the risk that represents for the health and safety of their employees and the public.”

The DTI analyzed urineoral fluid and hair drug tests performed by Quest Diagnostics workplace drug testing laboratories across the country. Test results are analyzed according to three categories of workers: employees with private companies (U.S. general workforce); employees subject to federal drug testing rules, including safety-sensitive truck drivers, train operators, airline and nuclear power plant workers (federally mandated safety-sensitive workers); and a combination of both groups (combined U.S. workforce).

We believe in the benefits that drug testing delivers and are committed to help keep workplaces safe.

Read the full release at or download the new Drug Testing Index brochure. You can also subscribe to get email updates of the latest DTI information.

Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

September 24, 2014 Industry News

The National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient and responsible way for individuals to dispose of unused prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications. The latest data from the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ (DTI) reports that prescription opiate rates, which include hydrocodone […]

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“Tracking the Trends: Insights from the Drug Testing Index” Webinar

September 18, 2014 Quest News

The Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ (DTI) is arguably the industry’s longest standing, most frequently relied upon resource for drug use patterns within the American workforce. Our presenter, Dr. Barry Sample, Director of Science and Technology, Quest Diagnostics, is responsible gathering, publishing and interpreting the trends found within the data. Join us on Tuesday, October 7 […]

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Annual SAPAA Conference

September 17, 2014 Industry News

The mission of the Substance Abuse Program Administrators Association (SAPAA) is to establish, promote and communicate the highest standards of quality, integrity and professionalism in the administration of workplace substance abuse prevention programs through education, training and the exchange of ideas. As a platinum sponsor of this year’s SAPAA conference, we couldn’t be more excited […]

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Webinar: 12 Common (and Costly) Employer Mistakes

September 15, 2014 Quest News

According to the U.S. government, 11 percent of full-time adult workforce regularly engages in illegal drug use. Substance abuse can pose many serious risks for employers including increased losses in productivity, absenteeism, turnover, health care costs, product defects and – most importantly – accidents. More companies are implementing comprehensive substance abuse prevention policies and programs […]

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International Drug Testing Questions & Answers

September 12, 2014 Industry News

Quest Diagnostics is a sponsor at this year’s International Forum for Drug & Alcohol Testing (IFDAT) conference in Belfast, Ireland. The conference enables employers and industry providers to share best practices, learn about new developments, and find ways to improve efficiencies in the international employee screening process. Coleen Volksdorf, Manager of International Services at Quest Diagnostics, […]

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Drug Testing Index: Workforce Drug Test Positivity Rate Increases

September 11, 2014 Quest News

The Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ (DTI) measures positivity trends based on workplace drug test results. The findings are published as a public service for government, media and industry and are considered a benchmark for national trends. The DTI report examines positivity rates – the proportion of positive results for each drug compared to all […]

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Ask the Experts – Under the Influence

September 8, 2014 Ask the Experts

Question: Marijuana legislation is impacting the state in which I run my business. I’ve heard that oral fluid is the best drug test specimen type for determining whether an employee is under the influence of drugs – particularly marijuana – while they’re at work. Is this true? This is a newly emerging and complex issue that is most […]

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Marijuana Legalization and Employee Drug Testing: Outdated or Necessary?

September 5, 2014 Industry News

Last week the Washington Post published an informative article authored by Dr. Robert DuPont, a leader in drug abuse prevention and treatment. The article – Pot is becoming legal in more places, but we should drug test employees anyways – presents Dr. DuPont’s perspectives on marijuana, workplace drug testing, and how they fit together. Click […]

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