NSDUH

New data shows 1 in 10 Americans use drugs

by Nicole Jupe on September 25, 2017

More states than ever before allow the recreational use of marijuana, a Schedule I Controlled Substance. Opiate abuse claims 91 lives each day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If users can’t obtain painkillers, they seek potent, cheaper alternatives like fentanyl or heroin. In short, drug use in our society continues to increase. To understand what’s trending, we must pay attention to the number of emergency room visits, poison control calls, drug seizures, law enforcement reports of drug-related activities, laboratory drug testing results, and surveys of the population.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) is published annually and is one of the most trusted sources of statistical information about substance use and misuse. The NSDUH has interviewed individuals aged 12 and older in the United States since 1988. Funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, its goals are to provide accurate national and state-level patterns of use, to assess the consequences of drug abuse, and to identify high-risk groups.

Survey questions focus on tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drug use, as well as substance use disorders, treatment, and mental illness. The research organizes illicit drugs into 10 categories: marijuana, cocaine (including crack), heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants, methamphetamine, prescription pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives. Additionally, the survey presents data in three distinct age segments—ages 12 to 17, 18 to 25, and 26 and older— in order to examine trends among adolescents, young adults, and adults.

Results from the most recent survey were released this month. Highlighted below are some key findings for individuals aged 12 or older:

  • About 28.6 million Americans used an illicit drug in the past month, equating to 1 in 10 people.
  • Illicit drug use continues to be driven primarily by marijuana, with an estimated 24 million current users.
  • The data showed 11.5 million people misused pain relievers and 948,000 used heroin.
  • Relieving physical pain was cited by 62.3% of people as the primary reason for misusing pain relievers. Fifty-three percent of that group were given or bought pills from friends or relatives.
  • Almost 2 million people are current users of cocaine.
  • Current users of methamphetamine totaled 667,000 people. The survey found that the majority of methamphetamine is made illegally, not by pharmaceutical companies.
  • Approximately 7.4 million people suffered from illicit drug use disorders with marijuana disorder as the most common (4 million people). An estimated 21 million people needed treatment for a disorder.
  • An estimated 136.7 million people were current alcohol users, with 65.3 million binge drinkers and 16.3 million heavy drinkers within that group.

Download the full report from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

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

Employers Paying the Price of Substance Abuse

by Steve Beller on May 9, 2017

Substance abuse in the workplace is increasing. For the past several years, data from the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ has shown an increase in drug test positivity in the American workforce. We knew that employee drug use was costly to businesses in turnover, absenteeism, accidents, and insurance. However, the actual cost employers bear for employee substance abuse has been somewhat elusive – until now. The National Safety Council (NSC), Shatterproof (a national nonprofit organization), and the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) collaborated to create the Substance Use Cost Calculator for Employers to help estimate the costs of employee drug use on businesses. According to the NSC, the calculator is, “an authoritative, easy-to-use tool providing business leaders with specific information about the cost of substance use (including prescription drug abuse and misuse, alcohol abuse and misuse, opioid and heroin addiction, as well as abuse of other illicit drugs and marijuana) in their workplace.” The calculator combines the latest research on employment costs with data from National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH).

Using the calculator is simple. Employers enter their industry, company size, and state to estimate the price they might be paying on account of employee substance abuse. For example, the calculator estimates the annual cost of substance abuse for a retail chain in California with 1,000 employees is $370,299. This translates into $132,007 in lost time, $140,693 in job turnover and re-training, and $97,498 in added healthcare spend. In addition to pointing out the costs of substance abuse, the calculator also provides an estimate of potential cost avoidance employers can achieve through employee engagement and treatment assistance.

According to the NSC, “Substance use disorders affect 20.8 million Americans, almost 8 percent of the adult and adolescent population. While 75 percent of these people are part of the workforce, most employers are unaware of the hidden costs associated with these problems. It is estimated that the yearly economic impact is over $442 billion dollars.” Employers absorb a significant portion of those costs in the form of absenteeism, increased healthcare expenses, and lost productivity.

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

2017 National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

April 14, 2017News

An ambulance blazes by a sea of idling cars in the midst of evening rush-hour. Weaving through traffic, the EMT’s singular goal is to arrive at the emergency room as quickly as possible. The passenger is a victim of accidental prescription drug poisoning. This scenario plays out daily in cities across the country. In fact, […]

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Data Shows Escalating Drug Use in the U.S. Workforce

January 24, 2017Drug Testing

The Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ (DTI) is arguably the industry’s longest standing, most frequently relied upon resource for drug trends in the American workforce by policymakers, media, employers, and the general public. The DTI examines positivity by drug category, testing reason, and specimen type. Since its inception in 1988, this report has analyzed millions […]

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Shortage of Drug-Free Job Applicants

December 2, 2016Drug Testing

Many businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to find applicants who can pass a pre-employment drug test. According a recent article in Briefings magazine, “the country has a growing drug problem, and it is spilling over into the workplace in ways many companies doing large-scale hiring have not anticipated.” Dr. Barry Sample, Senior Director of […]

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By The Numbers: Oral Fluid Positivity

October 12, 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 examine the surge in oral fluid drug testing positivity over the past three years. Laboratory-based oral fluid is reliable for detecting recent drug use, and because the collection is […]

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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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Businesses Struggle to Find Drug-Free Workers

May 17, 2016News

New York Times writer Jackie Calmes reports that employers across the United States are struggling to find workers who can pass a pre-employment drug test. Businesses started noticing a trend once job candidates learned that the next step of the hiring process was a drug test and nearly half of the applicants simply skipped the […]

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Alcohol Awareness Month

April 8, 2016Alcohol

According to the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), minors use alcohol more frequently than they use all illicit drugs combined. The study revealed that 8.7 million people between the ages of 12 and 20 reported drinking alcohol in the past month. Of those adolescents, 5.3 million were considered binge drinkers and […]

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Reasons for Testing: Introduction

September 17, 2015Drug Testing

According to the latest data from the National Survey of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 24.6 million Americans age 12 or over are current drug users, and 68.9 percent of these illicit drug users are employed full-time or part-time. The U.S. Department of Labor reports that drug use in the workplace costs employers $81 billion […]

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