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

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: LouisvilleCharleston Post-Courier, Twin Cities Business magazineNew Hampshire Union Leader, Santa Rosa Press DemocratTraverse City Business NewsHuman Resources Executive, Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), Transport Topics, 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 or contact us online.

Kratom to be Classified as a Schedule I Drug

by Nicole Jupe on September 12, 2016

kratom-pillsThe Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced its intentions to place the main active components – mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine – from the plant commonly known as “kratom” into Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act in order to avoid an imminent hazard to public safety.

The DEA states that kratom has a high potential for abuse, has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and has a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.  With a Schedule I classification, kratom joins other illicit drugs such as marijuana, heroin, ecstasy, and LSD.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), kratom is “a tropical tree native to Southeast Asia, with leaves that contain psychoactive opioid compounds.” People use kratom as a stimulant, an aphrodisiac, a sedative, and a pain reliever for chronic pain and for opioid withdrawl symptoms. Various forms of the substance are used and include a powder, plant, capsule, tablet, liquid, gum/resin, bar, tea, and drug patch.  Similar to synthetic cannabinoids, kratom is not illegal and is easily purchased in head shops or online with packaging labeled “not for human consumption.”

Reported physical effects of kratom abuse include agitation, irritability, itching, sweating, abnormally rapid heart rate, nausea, constipation, drowsiness, sun sensitivity, and hypertension. Poison control centers report an increase of calls related to kratom during the past 5 years, with the DEA citing at least 15 deaths associated with the drug’s use.

Additionally, law enforcement seized an unprecedented amount of kratom nationwide in 2016 when compared to previous years.  According to the DEA announcement, the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued import alerts about kratom products and the substance has appeared on the DEA’s list of drugs and chemicals of concern for several years.  CNN reports that until now, kratom has been considered an herbal supplement which is loosely regulated by the FDA.

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

Since the publication of this blog, the DEA announced that it it will reverse its decision to temporarily make kratom a Schedule I drug. Also, it will open an official comment period in the Federal Register which will last until December 1, 2016.

DOT 5-Panel Test Nomenclature

September 17, 2010News

Department of Transportation (DOT) testing at HHS-certified laboratories will continue to be called a 5-panel drug test. The new testing for MDMA, MDA and MDEA will fall under the Amphetamines category. To review the DOT’s publication on the topic, click here. For more information about drug testing, visit our website or contact us online.

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U.S. Department of Transportation Final Rule

August 13, 2010News

The following information was published by the U.S. Department of Transportation. OVERVIEW The Department of Transportation (the Department or DOT) is amending certain provisions of its drug testing procedures dealing with laboratory testing of urine specimens. Some of the changes will also affect the training of and procedures used by Medical Review Officers. The changes […]

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Lab-based Testing for Ecstasy

October 5, 2009Urine testing

Ecstasy (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, or MDMA) is a drug once predominantly used socially but research shows that Ecstasy is moving beyond the club scene and into everyday life. According to the 2003 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an estimated 10.9 million Americans age 12 or older tried MDMA at least once in their lifetime. The adverse […]

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