Methadone

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: 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 QuestDiagnostics.com/DTI or contact us online.

As one of the nation’s leading safety advocates, the National Safety Council (NSC) spotlights issues in an effort to “eliminate preventable deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy.” The organization has identified prescription drug misuse as one of its key safety issues because of the alarming rise in addiction rates, ER visits, overdoses, and fatalities. Dr. Don Teater, Medical Advisor for the National Safety Council, has emphatically stated, “Painkillers don’t kill pain. They kill people.”

This public safety issue also weighs heavily on the workplace, impacting more than 70 percent of U.S. employers. According to research published in The Clinical Journal of Pain, the non-medical use of prescription opioids cost the United States approximately $42 billion dollars in lost productivity in 2006. Five drugs in particular, OxyContin®, oxycodone, hydrocodone, propoxyphene, and methadone, accounted for two-thirds of the total economic burden.

The NSC reported results from its recent survey, which examined employers’ perceptions and experiences with prescription drugs. Because of substance misuse, employers face challenges with absenteeism, decreased job performance, injuries, positive drug test results, co-workers using, borrowing, or selling prescription drugs at work, and a negative impact on employee morale. In addition, the NSC survey data shows:

  • 81 percent of employers lack a drug-free workplace policy
  • 76 percent of employers do not offer training to identify drug misuse
  • 41 percent of employers do not drug test for synthetic opioids

Employers want to help employees, yet only 19 percent of employers answered that they were “extremely prepared” to deal with the misuse or abuse of prescription medications. Managers cited that they need additional clarification regarding policy, benefits, insurance, treatment options, and simply identifying warning signs of a potential problem.

How can the remaining 81 percent of employers get informed and gain confidence when facing this challenge? Survey authors suggest that companies add specialized workplace training for supervisors, implement drug testing programs, and strengthen their policies with more precise language about drug use without a prescription, employee impairment, and return-to-work protocols.

The NSC has amassed a comprehensive collection of resources such as drug fact sheets, strategy guides, videos, graphics, and survivor stories to bring greater awareness to the issue. Download the kit for employers.

Download our Drug Testing Guide.

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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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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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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Introducing Express Results™ Online

February 23, 2015News

Do you need to quickly determine if a job candidate is drug-free? Do you want a test panel that screens for a variety of commonly-used drugs? Would you prefer to let a trained collector administer the drug test? Quest Diagnostics now offers Express Results Online, an instant, urine drug testing solution designed to deliver fast, dependable results – […]

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Name that Drug: Methadone

May 13, 2013News

At Quest Diagnostics, we proudly support the Drug & Alcohol Testing Industry Association (DATIA). Every quarter, DATIA publishes their DATIA Focus magazine which runs a popular feature called “Name that Drug.” In the spring edition on page 56, readers learned more about methadone from knowledge shared by one of our own, Randy Clouette, Forensic Laboratory […]

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