The opioid epidemic continues to be a public health emergency. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) paint a stark picture stating that 68% of the 70,000+ drug overdose deaths in 2017 involved prescription opioids and heroin. Additionally, the number of drug overdose deaths involving opioids was 6 times higher in 2017 than in 1999. People use opioids as prescribed by their physicians, but a significant number of people continue to abuse these drugs. Misuse inevitably spills into the workplace.
More workers testing positive in drug screens
According to data from the 2018 Quest Diagnostics® Drug Testing Index™, more workplace drug tests are coming up positive. Increased positivity, coupled with the opioid crisis has many employers concerned about hiring drug-free, qualified workers, workplace safety, and deterring drug use at work. Drug-free workplace programs that include a diverse drug testing regimen can help to achieve these goals. More specifically, when multiple test types are implemented, employers can more effectively detect short-term and long-term drug use.
Hair testing and opioids
For employers concerned about the long-term drug use history of a current employee or job candidate, hair drug testing may offer the best solution for their pre-employment or random testing programs. Hair testing is the only testing method available that provides up to a 90-day drug use history. When compared with urine drug testing, hair testing provides nearly twice the number of positives due to its longer detection window.
Recent enhancements to our hair testing panels now allow for more specific testing for opiate-like or opioid drug such as oxycodone and its metabolites. This refined testing yields greater sensitivity and may result in more positive test results.
Read our frequently asked questions or talk to a Quest representative about the importance of testing for opiates such as oxycodone, oxymorphone, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, 6-AM (heroin), codeine, and morphine in hair.
To learn more about drug testing, visit our website.