6-AM

The Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ (DTI) reveals insights into patterns of drug use among the American workforce. It has been published annually for more than 25 years as a public service for government, employers, policymakers, media, and the general public. This year’s report will be presented at the Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association (DATIA) annual conference, a gathering of industry professionals focused on safety, regulatory affairs, ethics, and workplace drug testing education from all over the world.

In examining the latest data, Barry Sample, Ph.D., Senior Director of Science and Technology at Quest Diagnostics, said, “This year’s findings are remarkable because they show increased rates of drug positivity for the most common illicit drugs across virtually all drug test specimen types and in all testing populations.” He noted the following key findings from millions of workplace drug test results.

  • Overall positivity in urine drug testing among the combined U.S. workforce in 2016 was 4.2 percent, a five percent relative increase over last year’s rate of 4.0 percent, and the highest annual positivity rate since 2004 (4.5 percent).
  • Cocaine, marijuana, and methamphetamine use is up broadly among the U.S. workforce across multiple drug test specimen types and testing populations.
  • Cocaine positivity increased 12 percent in 2016, reaching a seven-year high of 0.28 percent.
  • The positivity rate for cocaine in post-accident urine drug tests was more than twice that of pre-employment urine drug tests in both the federally-mandated, safety-sensitive and the general U.S. workforces.
  • In Colorado and Washington, the overall urine positivity rate for marijuana outpaced the national average in 2016 for the first time since the recreational statutes took effect.
  • Year over year marijuana positivity increased nearly 75 percent in oral fluid testing. In addition, positivity increased in both urine and hair testing in the general U.S. workforce.
  • Between 2012 and 2016, methamphetamine positivity climbed 64 percent in the general U.S. workforce and 14 percent among federally-mandated, safety-sensitive workers.
  • Heroin detection, indicated by the presence of the 6-acetylmorphine (6-AM) metabolite, plateaued in the general U.S. workforce while prescription opiate detection declines.

“Once again, the DTI statistics reveal the on-going threat to workplace safety posed by substance abuse. While the national dialogue swirls around marijuana and opiate issues, we find cocaine—a substance with well-established dangers—continuing its troubling upswing not just in the general workforce, but in safety-sensitive jobs with federally-mandated testing,” said Matt Nieman, General Counsel, Institute for a Drug-Free Workplace and Principal, Jackson Lewis P.C. “That positive test results for cocaine persist, let alone are increasing, should serve as a reminder to employers and employees that there is no substitute for vigilance in any effective effort to thwart the potential impacts of workplace substance abuse.”

Along with this year’s data, we are offering an interactive map to illustrate overall positivity and positivity by drug for the past 10 years in urine testing. Users can search by both zip code and year for six illicit drugs: 6-AM (heroin metabolite), amphetamines, cocaine, marijuana, opiates, and PCP at QuestDiagnostics.com/DrugMap.

Workplace drug testing promotes a safe, healthy and productive environment for employees. Our analysis suggests that employers committed to creating a safe, drug-free work environment should be aware of the potential for drug use among their workforce.

Media coverage for the Drug Testing Index includes an exclusive story by The Wall Street Journal. Other press featuring the DTI includes: The Washington Post, CNBC’s Closing BellTIME magazineFortune, CBS Money WatchViceMarketWatchThe Chicago Tribune, Facility Safety Management, Business InsuranceInsurance Journal, Daily Republic, FOX Denver,  Newsday, NJBIANew Jersey’s NJ.comPittsburgh Post-Gazette, North Nevada Business Weekly, Dayton Daily News, Brevard Times, The National Law Review, PoliticoThe TruckerHR DiveMedical Laboratory Observer: LabLineCrime Report, Drug ChronicleSteelers LoungeSector PublishingDaily Caller, Newsmax Wires, RTBulk Transporter, Lexology, Daily Chew, NCASJunior College, Industry Week, Salon, ExamOne blogWSJ: The 10-Point, Construction Equipment, EHS Today, Kansas City Star, Baltimore Sun, Hartford Business Journal, USA Today: LouisvilleHuman Resources Executive, Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), and USA TODAY Snapshot.

In addition, the Jimmy Kimmel Live show asked cited Quest Diagnostics data and in its Pedestrian Question segment asked people if they have ever been high at work.

Read the full press release for the latest DTI data as well as drug testing news and resources.

Download our new Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index brochure and the this year’s DTI infographics.

For more information about drug testing, visit our QuestDiagnostics.com/DTI 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: 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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Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index: Drug Positivity in U.S. Workforce Rises to Highest Level in a Decade

September 15, 2016Drug Testing

The Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ (DTI) reveals insights into patterns of drug use among the American workforce. It has been published annually for more than 25 years as a public service for government, employers, policymakers, media, and the general public. In examining the latest data, Barry Sample, Ph.D., Senior Director of Science and Technology […]

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Spotlight on the Prescription Drug Epidemic

June 16, 2016News

Autopsy results released earlier this month confirmed that a fentanyl overdose was the cause of death for 57 year old, multi-platinum recording artist – Prince. The death of such a prominent pop culture figure generated media headlines across the world, helping to bring public awareness about the prescription drug epidemic our country is facing. MarketWatch […]

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Drug Testing Index: Illicit Drug Test Positivity Rate Increases

June 3, 2015News

The Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ (DTI) reveals insights into patterns of drug use among the American workforce. Published annually for more than 25 years, the Drug Testing Index examines positivity rates for workplace drug tests. Quest reports these findings as a public service for government, employers, policymakers and the general public. In examining the […]

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