Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index

Rising methamphetamine use in the U.S. workforce

by Nicole Jupe on November 30, 2017

Methamphetamine Methamphetamine, sometimes called meth, crystal, crank, or ice, is a highly addictive stimulant. It emerged in the 1930s as a treatment for narcolepsy and depression and was also taken by German and Japanese soldiers in World War II to stay alert during battle, according to a DATIA focus article by Dr. Rodi Predescu, Quest Diagnostics. In the 1960s, people began to inject the drug to experience euphoria. Along with the explosion of crack-cocaine in the 1980s, meth continued to gain an audience of new users. In the past two decades, the abuse of methamphetamine has significantly increased. Although it is available by prescription, the majority of methamphetamine is produced and distributed illegally. The law requires all pharmacies and retail stores to monitor the sale of over-the-counter medicines with ingredients like pseudoephedrine because they are the key ingredients in the home-made of meth.

Methamphetamine can be taken orally, smoked, snorted, or injected. Small amounts of the drug may cause increased physical activity, increased respiration, lack of appetite, rapid and irregular heart rate, and increased blood pressure. Repeated use may lead to anxiety, insomnia, weight loss, skin sores, and severe dental issues, referred to as “meth mouth.” Additionally, people who inject meth are at higher risk for contracting infectious diseases like hepatitis C and HIV.  Addicts can suffer intense withdrawal symptoms when they detox and quit using methamphetamine.

The most current findings from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health tell us that:

  • An estimated 8.2% of adults (aged 26 or older), or 17.1 million people, currently use an illicit drug
  • About 128,000 young adults (aged 18-25) and 757,000 adults currently use methamphetamine
  • About 22,000 adolescents (aged 12-17), 156,000 young adults, and 694,000 adults suffer from a methamphetamine substance-use disorder

According to the latest Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™, methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana use has increased broadly in the American workforce, contributing to the highest positivity rate in 12 years. Although methamphetamine positivity in urine testing declined between 2005 and 2008 and plateaued between 2008 and 2012, it is currently steadily increasing. Between 2012 and 2016, methamphetamine positivity climbed 64% in the general U.S. workforce and 14% among federally-mandated, safety-sensitive workers. In oral fluid drug testing, methamphetamine positivity increased 75% between 2013 and 2016. Visit for the full report.

To see methamphetamine positivity rates by 3-digit zip code in the United States for the past 10 years, visit

Download our Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index brochure.

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

Methamphetamine positivity


Webinar: The Life of a Drug Test

by Pablo Bolanos on November 28, 2017

From the perspective of an employer, the drug testing process is an in-and-out experience. A potential new hire or current employee provides a sample at one of our collection sites. Days later—after the sample is sent to the laboratory for testing—a final result is ready. At which point the employee returns to work or, a job candidate can start their new job.

Every year, millions of drug test specimens pass through our laboratories, taking an intricate journey from collection to result. We carefully crafted the entire process to be simple and without complications. Each specimen is ushered through by sophisticated, state-of-the-art instrumentation, time-tested processes, and a village of trained collectors and laboratory professionals who adhere to strict, highly regulated processes and procedures.

In our upcoming webinar, the life of a drug test, Quest experts, Dawn Hahn, Director of Laboratory Operations, and David Bustos, Collection Services Manager, will give you a behind-the-scenes look at the drug testing process from, the perspectives of a scientist and a collector, to boost your drug testing IQ. Topics include:

  • What to expect at a collection site
  • Drug test specimen-logistics
  • Specimen processing and testing at the lab
  • Quality control
  • Chain of custody standards

Register now to join us on Wednesday, December 13 at 1 p.m. CT.

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

Drug Testing Do’s and Don’ts

November 14, 2017Collections

Its 6:00 a.m. and the sound of your alarm fills the calm morning air. You’re certain that wonderful wake up sound is a bit early and hit snooze to catch a bit more rest. You finally wake up and when you do, you’re immediately hopeful, because today could mark the beginning of a new chapter. […]

Read the full article →

10 facts about opioids

October 10, 2017Drugs & Alcohol

He’s down to his last Vicodin. His chronic pain pushes him to visit a second doctor to get more painkillers to ease his agony. She sympathizes with her exhausted neighbor and shares some pills to bring sleep back to her restless nights. Just as her husband suffers from a knee injury after a pickup basketball […]

Read the full article →

Detect marijuana more often using oral fluid

September 27, 2017Oral Fluid testing

As state marijuana laws continue to change, it’s not surprising that marijuana use and drug test positivity are also on the rise. An estimated 24 million adults (aged 12 or older) currently use marijuana, according to latest data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. New technology in oral fluid testing has proven effective […]

Read the full article →

Risk Management: New trends in workforce drug use

August 2, 2017Drug Testing

In the early afternoon of Jan. 4, 1987, an Amtrak train crashed into a locomotive 18 miles northeast of Baltimore, causing 16 deaths and dozens of injuries. In post-accident drug and alcohol testing, the engineer driving the train tested positive for marijuana, although no one noticed anything unusual about his behavior before the crash that […]

Read the full article →

America’s favorite illicit drug: marijuana

July 7, 2017Illicit drugs

Marijuana is the product of the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa, containing the psychoactive chemical delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Despite its illegal status, the drug reigns as America’s favorite and most commonly detected illicit drug. Since the 1920s, marijuana has been the subject of myths and propaganda while also being glamorized by pop culture, movies, and television. Attitudes relaxed in […]

Read the full article →

Top 10 Drug Testing Tips for HR

June 16, 2017Drug Testing

Human Resources professionals serve as trusted advisors offering insights and guidance on a variety of topics such as staffing, benefits, compensation, and employee engagement. Ultimately, the role centers on making a positive impact for the workforce and retaining high-performing employees who drive results. As the labor market tightens, the importance of effective recruitment strategies has […]

Read the full article →

Mapping drug use in the U.S. workforce

June 9, 2017Drug Testing

Which drugs are popular in my county? How does workplace drug use in my state compare to the rest of the country? Has drug use in the American workforce changed significantly during the past decade? Employers, media, government, and policymakers frequently look to Quest Diagnostics for insights about their specific geographies. These inquiries are especially […]

Read the full article →

Cocaine Continues Upward Trend

June 1, 2017Drug Testing

Cocaine is derived from the coca plant native to South America where many chew its leaves to squash pain, thirst, hunger, and fatigue. By the 1880s, doctors as famous as Sigmund Freud were studying cocaine as a “miracle drug” as an anesthetic for surgery and for a variety of health conditions including anxiety, addiction, and […]

Read the full article →