Human Resources Executive

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.

Drug Testing IndexThe 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 latest data, Dr. Barry Sample, Director of Science and Technology at Quest Diagnostics, noted the following significant findings from more than 10 million workplace drug test results.

  • The percentage of American workers testing positive for illicit drugs such as marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine has increased for the second consecutive year in the general U.S. workforce.
  • According to urine drug test data and unlike 2013 data, marijuana positivity increased at about the same rate in Colorado and Washington, states with recreational marijuana-use laws, as the rest of the United States in 2014.
  • The DTI analysis showed increases in workplace positivity for cocaine in the general U.S. workforce over the past two years, reversing a prolonged period of decline.
  • Continuing a multi-year upward trend, amphetamines positivity – specifically the use of methamphetamine – showed a steady increase across both urine and oral fluid drug tests.
  • The positivity rate for 6-acetylmorphine, or 6-AM, a specific marker for heroin, doubled in the general U.S. workforce between 2011 and 2014.

Media coverage for the DTI includes The Wall Street Journal, Human Resources ExecutiveRisk Management Monitor, SHRM OnlineMarketWatchMarketWatch: Amphetamine use among workers highest on recordDrugfree.org, Medical News Today, Health CentralExecutive Risk Network, Property Casualty 360Kaiser Health News, Cincinnati.comFits News, Mobile Medical Corporation, BioSpaceZero Hedge and a USA Today SnapShot.

Watch a video interview of Wall Street Journal Careers Reporter, Lauren Weber.

We support workplace drug testing programs for their ability to promote safer, healthier and more productive work environments.

Read the full release of the Drug Testing Index at www.QuestDiagnostics.com/DTI or download the latest brochure. You can also subscribe to get email updates of the latest DTI information.

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

25 Years of Workplace Drug Testing in America

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Today marks the 25th anniversary of the Drug-Free Workplace Act, an important milestone in our country to keep workplaces safe. President Ronald Reagan signed this act into law on November 18, 1988 which required that Federal contractors and grantees agree to provide drug-free workplaces as a precondition of receiving a contract or grant from a Federal […]

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Human Resources Executive magazine puts a spotlight on methamphetamines

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Human Resources Executive calls attention to the use of methamphetamines remaining steady as other drug test positives have declined. Methamphetamine use has remained at 0.10 percent for the past two years. The October 16th article also examines the geographic differences illustrating that the western United States has a much higher instance of drug use than […]

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