Blog Series

Weeding Out the Facts Webinar Recap

by Nicole Jupe on February 21, 2017

Employers face challenges as states continue to pass marijuana legislation, while the substance is still illegal under federal law.  In our recent webinar, two highly-regarded industry experts, Dr. Barry Sample, Senior Director of Science and Technology, Quest Diagnostics, and D. Faye Caldwell, Attorney at Law, Caldwell Everson, presented facts and insight about marijuana and the workplace for both the scientific and legal landscapes.

Some key takeaways from our webinar include:

  • Data indicated that marijuana use in general society is up. The increase is primarily driven by use among adults ages 26 years or older, according to data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). Self-reported marijuana use in the employment sector is also increasing.
  • According the latest Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ report, nearly half (45 percent) of individuals in the general U.S. workforce with a positive drug test for any substance showed evidence of marijuana.
  • Research studies have shown that marijuana use can be impairing and can impact reaction times, concentration, task performance, and driving.
  • Twenty-nine states and D.C. have medical marijuana laws.
  • An additional fifteen states have low THC/high CBD (cannabidiol) laws for limited medical purposes, but the allowable levels of THC in the oils fluctuate (between none and up to 5%) by state.
  • There is limited research on the benefits of medical marijuana, although some funding has been allocated to study how marijuana impacts certain medical conditions.
  • In addition to the existing qualifying conditions in medical marijuana laws, a number of states have considered adding post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), chronic pain, and substance abuse disorders as qualifying conditions for medical marijuana.
  • Marijuana laws are inconsistent and constantly changing. The laws can impact company drug testing policies and procedures, drug testing program administration, and how drug test results are handled.
  • Employment protections in current marijuana laws vary widely by state – ranging from explicitly providing no protections to being unclear to providing explicit protections – and employers may have a duty to accommodate off-duty usage. Most explicit employment protection laws have no exemption for “safety-sensitive” employees.
  • Eight states with medical marijuana have also passed recreational use laws, one of which has explicit employee protections.
  • “All of these medical and recreational use statutes probably impact only a very small number of employees at most employer locations,” said Dr. Sample.
  • Quest data shows that more than 99 percent of all urine workplace drug tests in the United States continue to include marijuana as a part of the drug testing panel despite state marijuana legislation.
  • A clearly written drug testing policy that complies with local and state laws remains paramount. The policy should detail who is tested, what drug test specimen type is used, and the consequences of a violation. Inform employees of the policy and consistently apply it across the entire workforce.

In conclusion, there are currently no restrictions on testing for marijuana. Furthermore, the current laws do not require an employer to accommodate on-duty drug use in the workplace or prohibit an employer from taking action if an employee is working under the influence of marijuana.

Based on the current marijuana laws, there is no good reason to stop drug testing for marijuana and risk giving up “valuable information for a handful of people who can impact your workforce and its safety,” according to Ms. Caldwell.

If you missed the live presentation, visit our webinars webpage to view to an on-demand recording and to watch other webinars bought to you by Quest Diagnostics.

Download our Marijuana Legislation by State infographic as a reference guide.

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

Data Shows Escalating Drug Use in the U.S. Workforce

by Nicole Jupe on January 24, 2017

The Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ (DTI) is arguably the industry’s longest standing, most frequently relied upon resource for drug trends in the American workforce by policymakers, media, employers, and the general public. The DTI examines positivity by drug category, testing reason, and specimen type. Since its inception in 1988, this report has analyzed millions of drug test results and tracked the evolution of our industry.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) is also a trusted source for national and state-level estimates of alcohol and illicit drug use. NSDUH’s data fuels efforts for drug prevention, treatment, and research communities. Key questions for employers in the NSDUH data include an individual’s employment status and whether or not a company has a workplace drug testing program.

Dr. Barry Sample, Senior Director of Science and Technology, Quest Diagnostics, reviews DTI data in conjunction with NSDUH results to compare positivity trends and self-reported drug use over time. The latest DTI data revealed steady increases in overall positivity in the combined U.S. workforce that reached a 10-year high. The NSDUH survey results also support the DTI findings with year-over-year increases of self-reported drug use since 2012. In addition, the DTI called attention to increases in marijuana positivity during the past five years. NSDUH also indicates higher self-reported use for marijuana with 22 million Americans identifying as current users.

Dr. Sample re-emphasizes these conclusions from the NSDUH data:

  • Overall employee drug use in society is rising among employers without a drug testing program.
  • There is typically a 30 to 45 percent higher occurrence of self-reported drug use for respondents who work for an employer without a drug testing program.
  • Self-reported marijuana use, the most commonly detected drug by the DTI, has increased year-over-year since 2010.

Since the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988, drug use among American workers has declined 74 percent. Workplace drug testing programs have proven to be valuable tools to deter drug use and promote safe and healthy environments. Data from the DTI and NSDUH showcase the importance of screening applicants and current employees for drug use and continuing to remain committed to drug-free workplaces.

Download the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index 2016 report.

For more information about drug testing, visit our website or contact us online.

Webinar: Marijuana & the Workplace

January 9, 2017 Webinars

Voters passed new measures this election season to allow recreational and medicinal marijuana use in their states, bringing the count to 29 states where cannabis is “legal” in some form. Research also indicates relaxing attitudes towards marijuana and a 2015 Gallup Poll showed that 1 in 4 people have tried the drug. The Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing […]

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Post-Accident Positivity Climbs Among American Workers

January 4, 2017 Drug Testing

Our scientific experts have analyzed and published annual workplace drug testing data and insights since 1988 in the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ (DTI). After the initiation of drug testing programs by employers in the 1980s, overall positivity rates began to decline. Employers saw how the power of drug-free workplace programs deterred employee substance abuse […]

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Ask the Experts: Getting Started with eCCF

December 21, 2016 Webinars

Our recent Gain the eCCF Advantage webinar was well received by many in the drug testing industry. Throughout the presentation, our audience posed a number of questions. Answers to the most frequent and important inquiries from the webinar are provided below as part of our ongoing effort to simplify the complexities of electronic Custody and […]

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By the Numbers: Heroin Positivity Continues to Rise

December 15, 2016 By the Numbers

Our By the Numbers blog series takes a closer look at the numbers, facts, data, and outputs that impact workplace drug testing programs. In this post, we look at the heroin positivity rate. Headlines continue to put a spotlight on startling statistics about heroin addiction and sometimes feature shocking stories to warn the public of the drug’s dangers. The […]

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Navigating Global Drug Testing Webinar Highlights

December 14, 2016 Webinars

Data privacy, drug screen turnaround time, collection network coverage, and logistics form the pillars of an effective international drug testing program. A “one size fits all” approach cannot be taken because factors such as culture, customs, currency, policies, and laws can vary greatly from country to country. In our most recent webinar, our experts offered […]

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By the Numbers: Drug Detection Window by Specimen Type

December 5, 2016 By the Numbers

Our ongoing By the Numbers series takes a closer look at the numbers, facts, and data that impact workplace drug testing programs. This week, we examine one of the most frequently asked questions we receive as a laboratory: how long can drugs be detected using a drug test? The answer is not simple as you might think, […]

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Gain the eCCF Advantage Webinar Highlights

November 18, 2016 Webinars

In Tuesday’s webinar, experts from Quest Diagnostics shared the benefits of using electronic custody and control forms (eCCF) in federally-regulated drug testing. Charlie Sullivan, Director of Collection Services, and Barbara Rowland, Director of Laboratory Operations, discussed the due diligence it took for Quest to gain HHS National Laboratory Certification Program (NLCP) approval and the impacts […]

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By the Numbers: Customer Support

November 11, 2016 By the Numbers

Our By the Numbers blog series takes a closer look at the numbers, facts, data, and outputs that impact workplace drug testing programs. In this post, we look at the numerical values that enable our Customer Support team to serve our customers effectively. Improving the customer experience is the top priority of our Customer Support team. Our Customer Support […]

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