By the Numbers

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.

By the Numbers: Heroin Positivity Continues to Rise

by Nicole Jupe on December 15, 2016

heroin-dti-chart-blogOur 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 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) estimates that there were 435,000 current heroin users in 2014, which translates to 0.2 percent of the U.S. population. This summer, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) issued a report detailing the rising number of hospitalizations and overdose deaths due to heroin. The DEA said, “Deaths involving heroin more than tripled between 2010 and 2014 – a rate faster than other illicit drugs.”

Analysis from the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ (DTI) also asserts that the percentage of workers testing positive for heroin, indicated by the presence of the 6-AM marker, has risen dramatically in recent years. The latest data shows that heroin positivity:

  • Increased 146 percent between 2011 and 2015 in urine drug test results in the general U.S. workforce
  • Grew a relative 4.5 percent since 2014 and a relative 84 percent since 2011 among safety-sensitive employees
  • Rose to 0.14 percent in oral fluid drug testing, meaning that approximately 1 in every 1,000 employees tested positive for 6-AM

“The numbers are frightening,” said Dr. Barry Sample, Senior Director of Science and Technology, Quest Diagnostics. He further explained that the data represents five consecutive years of upticks and could be an indicator of future trends.

Additionally, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has addressed the relationship between prescription opioids and heroin abuse. To summarize the research by NIDA, growing evidence shows that our country has switched from prescription painkillers, such as OxyContin® and Vicodin®, to heroin because of easier access, lower prices, and greater purity. As such, the number of past-year heroin users in the U.S. nearly doubled between 2005 and 2012.

Heroin is classified as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act and is highly addictive. It is included in the screen (initial testing) for federally-regulated drug testing programs and can also be added to non-regulated drug testing panels.

Download the Drug Testing Index brochure for insights into patterns of drug use among the American workforce.

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

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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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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By The Numbers: Oral Fluid Positivity

October 12, 2016 By the Numbers

Our By the Numbers series takes a closer look at the numbers, facts, data, and outputs that impact workplace drug testing programs. In this post, we examine the surge in oral fluid drug testing positivity over the past three years. Laboratory-based oral fluid is reliable for detecting recent drug use, and because the collection is […]

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By the Numbers: Positivity by Drug

October 6, 2016 By the Numbers

Our By the Numbers series takes a closer look at the numbers, facts, data, and outputs that impact workplace drug testing programs. In this post,we take a closer look at positivity by drug which the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ (DTI) measures using a combination of three factors: drug category, specimen type, and workforce segment. […]

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By the Numbers: 24/7 Emergency Collections

September 29, 2016 Collections

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 24/7 emergency collections to operate as efficiently as they do. While our nationwide network of more than 8,000 collection sites […]

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Drug Testing By the Numbers

September 28, 2016 Drug Testing

Using just 10 digits – 0 through 9 – we are able to derive billions of combination of numbers.  This idea also holds true as it relates to laboratory testing for drugs of abuse in which a seemingly boundless array of numbers, facts, data, and outputs is available. These values can play an essential role for […]

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