By the Numbers

As one of the nation’s leading safety advocates, the National Safety Council (NSC) spotlights issues in an effort to “eliminate preventable deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy.” The organization has identified prescription drug misuse as one of its key safety issues because of the alarming rise in addiction rates, ER visits, overdoses, and fatalities. Dr. Don Teater, Medical Advisor for the National Safety Council, has emphatically stated, “Painkillers don’t kill pain. They kill people.”

This public safety issue also weighs heavily on the workplace, impacting more than 70 percent of U.S. employers. According to research published in The Clinical Journal of Pain, the non-medical use of prescription opioids cost the United States approximately $42 billion dollars in lost productivity in 2006. Five drugs in particular, OxyContin®, oxycodone, hydrocodone, propoxyphene, and methadone, accounted for two-thirds of the total economic burden.

The NSC reported results from its recent survey, which examined employers’ perceptions and experiences with prescription drugs. Because of substance misuse, employers face challenges with absenteeism, decreased job performance, injuries, positive drug test results, co-workers using, borrowing, or selling prescription drugs at work, and a negative impact on employee morale. In addition, the NSC survey data shows:

  • 81 percent of employers lack a drug-free workplace policy
  • 76 percent of employers do not offer training to identify drug misuse
  • 41 percent of employers do not drug test for synthetic opioids

Employers want to help employees, yet only 19 percent of employers answered that they were “extremely prepared” to deal with the misuse or abuse of prescription medications. Managers cited that they need additional clarification regarding policy, benefits, insurance, treatment options, and simply identifying warning signs of a potential problem.

How can the remaining 81 percent of employers get informed and gain confidence when facing this challenge? Survey authors suggest that companies add specialized workplace training for supervisors, implement drug testing programs, and strengthen their policies with more precise language about drug use without a prescription, employee impairment, and return-to-work protocols.

The NSC has amassed a comprehensive collection of resources such as drug fact sheets, strategy guides, videos, graphics, and survivor stories to bring greater awareness to the issue. Download the kit for employers.

Download our Drug Testing Guide.

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

By the Numbers: Going Green with eCCF

by Steve Beller on March 1, 2017

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 examine the environmental impact of moving from paper-based custody and control forms (CCF) to electronic custody and control forms (eCCF).

Paper-based CCFs have been a mainstay of the drug testing industry since its inception in the 1980s, when the Reagan Administration passed the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), “the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 requires some federal contractors and all federal grantees to agree that they will provide drug-free workplaces as a condition of receiving a contract or grant from a federal agency.” In 2016, Quest Diagnostics processed more than 11 million workplace drug tests. Moreover, on average, we supply our employer clients with 1.5 paper forms for each drug test conducted. And while a single 5-part paper form may not seem like much, 16.5 million such forms add up—and the environmental impact is dramatic. If eCCFs were used for every Quest Diagnostics drug test performed instead of paper CCFs, 10,000 trees could have been saved in 2016 alone. Expanding the calculation to the entire drug testing industry, an estimated 42,000+ trees could potentially be saved each year.

Quest Diagnostics has been investing in and providing eCCF (formerly known as eReq) to non-regulated employers for nearly a decade, and we launched eCCF for regulated, U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) drug tests this January. eCCF is currently available for DOT urine, non-DOT urine, Express Results™ Online, oral fluid, and hair drug tests from Quest Diagnostics.

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

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

January 24, 2017Drug Testing

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 […]

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By the Numbers: Heroin Positivity Continues to Rise

December 15, 2016By 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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By the Numbers: Drug Detection Window by Specimen Type

December 5, 2016By 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, 2016By 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, 2016By 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, 2016By 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, 2016Collections

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, 2016Drug 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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