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, Human 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.

Fentanyl Crisis Continues

by Nicole Jupe on April 26, 2017

Without the careful monitoring of a licensed physician, opioids can be deadly. The National Center on Health Statistics shows that in 2015 alone, more than 17,000 people died from opioid pain relievers, in addition to the 19,000 who died as a result of their use of heroin and other illicit opioids. In total, the percentage of drug overdose deaths involving opioids (25 percent in 2015) was three times higher than the percentage in 2010.

The prescription drug misuse epidemic gripping the United States continues to worsen in large part because of the influx of illicit opioids like fentanyl. In even the smallest of doses, fentanyl is a lethal opioid that is 50 times more powerful than heroin. Its high potency increases the risk of dependence and overdose. Physicians prescribe this Schedule II drug to treat patients with severe pain and to manage post-surgery pain. Buyers shopping for painkillers can unknowingly purchase pills made with varying and sometimes dangerous amounts of fentanyl, heroin, and other opiates.

Richard Baum, Acting Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), calls illicit fentanyl, “an urgent public health crisis” that is compounding the ongoing prescription drug epidemic in the United States. A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that deaths from fentanyl and other synthetic opioids rose 72 percent from 2014 to 2015. Overdoses and deaths from this powerful pain medication affect all types of Americans including high profile casualties like music icon Prince in 2016.

In an effort to better understand fentanyl’s deadly grip, the CDC interviewed first responders and bystanders in Massachusetts. Seventy-five percent described overdose symptoms such as blue lips, foaming at the mouth, seizure-like activity, and unresponsiveness that came on within seconds or minutes after taking the drug. In addition, 83 percent of the cases in this research population required two doses of naloxone to revive the drug user. Injecting fentanyl was the most common way (occurring in 75 percent of the cases) that a person overdosed on the drug

Our government continues to gather data about fentanyl; however the majority of its information sources are limited to drug seizures. A recent ONDCP report showed:

  • 750 domestic drug seizures in 2016 involved fentanyl , representing a 26 percent uptick since 2015 and 250 percent overall increase since 2014
  • 33 kilograms of fentanyl were obtained by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection in 2016
  • 58 pill-making machines were seized in 2016
  • Seizures of fentanyl in direct shipments show purity in excess of 90 percent

Health officials, researchers, policymakers, and advocates continue to shine a spotlight on fentanyl to protect the public and to build greater awareness of its deadly threat.

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

Marijuana Remains a Schedule I Controlled Substance

August 22, 2016News

In 1996, medical marijuana became legal in California, and since then, 24 states and Washington, D.C. have enacted similar laws. In addition, four states have passed initiatives legalizing the sale, distribution, and consumption of marijuana while the federal government remains steadfast in their scheduling of the drug. Recently, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) denied two […]

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DEA Report Details Heroin Threat

July 1, 2016News

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) published the 2016 National Heroin Threat Assessment Summary on June 27, 2016, detailing the threat of heroin and opioid drug abuse in the United States. Heroin is now available in larger quantities, it is being used by a greater number of people, and it is causing an increasing number […]

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Fentanyl In the News

June 29, 2016Urine testing

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Used to treat pain, it is categorized as a Schedule II drug and carries a “black box warning” from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to call attention […]

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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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Even Physicians can be a Drug Abuse Risk

March 30, 2010Urine testing

Quest Diagnostics offers Medical Professional panels that are designed to detect drug abuse among physicians and other healthcare professionals. Despite their knowledge and training, medical professionals can be just as high a risk to abuse drugs as the general population. Drug abuse by medical professionals can result in loss of careers, risk to patient care, and […]

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