The Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ (DTI) reveals insights into drug use trends among the American workforce. It has been published annually for 30 years as a public service for government, employers, policymakers, media, and the general public. The Insights from this year’s report will be presented at the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Drug and Alcohol Program National Conference, an annual meeting focused on regulated drug testing and compliance for the transit industry.
Driven by increases in cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana, drug use by the American workforce remains at its highest rate in more than a decade. In analyzing the latest data, Barry Sample, PhD, Senior Director of Science and Technology at Quest Diagnostics Employer Solutions, said, “It’s unfortunate that we mark 30 years of the Drug-Free Workplace Act with clear evidence that drugs continue to invade the country’s workplaces. Not only have declines appeared to have bottomed out, but also in some drug classes and areas of the country, drug positivity rates are increasing.”
Key findings from more than 10 million workplace drug test results show that:
- Nationally, the positivity rate for the combined U.S. workforce held steady at 4.2% in 2017, the same as in 2016, but a dramatic increase over the 3.5% positivity rate from 2012, which represented a 30-year low.
- Cocaine positivity rates increased for the fifth consecutive year in the general U.S. workforce across every specimen type.
- Double-digit year-over-year increases in cocaine positivity were seen in Idaho, Maryland, Nebraska, Nevada, and Wisconsin.
- Marijuana positivity continued its 5-year upward trajectory. The drug’s positivity increased 4% in the general U.S. workforce and nearly 8% in the safety-sensitive workforce in urine testing.
- Increases in marijuana positivity rates were most striking in states that have enacted new recreational use statues which include California, Massachusetts, and Nevada.
- Methamphetamine positivity skyrocketed in the Midwest and Southern states.
- Prescription opiates continue to decline in workforce testing data.
- Heroin positivity declined to a 3-year low and was down nearly 11% in 2017, when compared to 2016, in urine testing of the general U.S. workforce.
“The depth of our large-scale analysis supports the possibility that efforts by policymakers, employers, and the medical community to decrease the availability of opioid prescriptions and curtail the opioid crisis is working to reduce their use, at least among the working public,” said Kim Samano PhD, Scientific Director at Quest Diagnostics.
To commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Drug Testing Index, we created a historical timeline to highlight important milestones and positivity rates spanning 3 decades. Data from more than 175 million drug tests show that workplace drug testing deters employees from using drugs on the job and discourages candidates who use drugs from seeking employment at companies with drug testing programs.
Media coverage for the Drug Testing Index includes an exclusive story by The Wall Street Journal. Other media coverage includes Fortune, The Washington Post, The Washington Post: The Health 202, The Washington Post: Small Business, 24/7 Wall St., Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), Forbes, HR Dive, Business Insurance, Insurance Journal, EHS Today, Transport Topics, Occupational Health and Safety, Health + Safety (NCS), HR Executive, Dallas News, Houston Chronicle, The Boston Globe, The Seattle Times, Hartford Business, Las Vegas Review Journal, FOX 59 Indianapolis, NBC Indianapolis, Colorado Springs Gazette, ColoradoPolitics.com, Des Moines Register, The Fix, Westword, ROI NJ, F3 News, Albuquerque Business Journal, Akron Beacon Journal, Midland Telegraph Reporter, Colorado Public Radio, Wisconsin Public Radio, The Gazette: Eastern Iowa; Austin American Statesman, Superior Telegram, Mondaq Business Journal, The Press of Atlantic City, The Post and Courier, Daily Mail, Commercial Carrier Journal, Industry Week, Tech Times, Dayton Daily News, Material Handling & Logistics, Work Comp Central, Lifezette, ESR NEWS, Sector Publishing Intelligence (UK), Smart Approaches to Marijuana, American Pharmaceutical Association, and PR Newswire.
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For more information about drug testing, visit QuestDiagnostics.com/DTI.