Quest Diagnostics

By the Numbers: Random Drug Testing Data

by Ashlyn Hazard on September 22, 2017

Companies drug test their applicants and employees at a variety of times, for a variety of reasons, using a variety of specimen types. The federally-mandated, safety-sensitive sector follows regulatory drug testing guidance and in doing so establishes a model that is frequently followed by U.S. companies who elect to perform drug testing because they see its value.

Starting on January 1, 2016, this regulatory guidance changed for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) when the minimum annual random urine drug test rate was decreased from 50% to 25%. This change was made because drug test positivity rates among this sector remained at less than 1% for three consecutive years.

Many FMCSA employers, including two-thirds of Quest Diagnostics FMCSA clients, followed this guidance and decreased their random testing rate throughout 2016. We recently analyzed more than 30 months of Quest Diagnostics FMSCA drug testing data – including the 12 months prior to the change and 18 months after it – in an effort to better understand the relationship between the rate of random drug tests performed and the corresponding rate of drug positivity in these tests. It is worth noting that while the federal panel is made up of amphetamines, cocaine, marijuana, opiates, and PCP, we removed amphetamines and opiates from our analysis. These two drug classes have a greater chance of being used with a valid prescription and overturned by a Medical Review Officer. Excluding these drugs ensures the positivity data is conservative in nature. We found these insights to be the most telling:

From the start of 2015 to the first half of 2017, Quest Diagnostics FMCSA clients decreased their random testing volume by an average of 25%. During that time, the average positivity of the random drug tests in this testing population increased by 13%. Over the same time period, these clients increased their testing by an average of 6% for all other testing reasons such as pre-employment, and only experienced a 2% average increase in positivity.

Simply stated, as the random drug testing rate declined, so has the chance and risk of being tested. As the risk of being tested declined, so did the power of drug testing and its ability to help deter use. With this in mind, it’s not surprising that drug use is increasing among long-haul truckers, bus drivers, delivery drivers, and construction vehicle drivers. In turn, every vehicle and person these drugged drivers interact with on the road bears an increased risk of an accident.

Two logical questions stem from this analysis:

Q: When will the required random testing rate be increased?

A: Only time will tell. Unfortunately, things have to get worse before they’ll get better, as the entire FMCSA random testing population must once again climb back to more than 1% positivity before we can expect to see a change in the regulation.

Q: What can FMCSA employers do to minimize the potential negative impact on their organizations, employees, and the general population?

A: For now, employers can remain vigilant in drug testing. The FMCSA random rate is only a minimum standard and employers can always elect to drug test at a greater rate than the minimum requirement. Take the time to examine your testing and positivity data, keep the dissuasive power of random drug testing in mind, and carefully consider the associated risk that your organization is willing to bear.

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

Advancing our online solutions

by Brie Edmonds on September 19, 2017

Moore’s law, in its broadest definition, states that technological advancements will continue at an exponentially rapid rate. At Quest Diagnostics, we know that when employers want to drug test an applicant or employee, they often need an electronic means by which to order, track, and review the progress of that test. With those two ideas in mind, our teams of experts work tirelessly to improve our customer’s online experience.

The Employer Solutions Portal (ESP) customer portal is consistently used by thousands of users on a weekly basis. To continue our commitment to excellence, we recently asked our active users for their feedback and perspectives on the system.

Here are a few highlights from our respondents:

  • 85% agree that their transition to ESP was simple
  • 82% agree that ESP is easy to use
  • 75% agree that ESP provides the necessary program management reporting
  • 73% agree that ESP is a reliable means by which to manage forms electronically
  • 71% agree that ordering a drug test is simple
  • 70% would highly recommend ESP to a colleague or associate
  • 64% agree that ESP makes it easy to locate a collection site

When asked for more detail, comments such as these emerged:

“The program is very user friendly and when I’ve had to call and speak to someone, they were great.”
“I like that I get the drug test results in a timely manner.”
“I find Quest Diagnostics to be professional and easy to work with in all regards.”
“Outstanding customer service – every time I call, they are helpful.”

While this positive feedback reaffirms our systems are meeting the needs of our users, this isn’t the feedback that compels us to do better. We’re far more motivated by the five percent of respondents who indicated their dissatisfaction with the system, its user-friendliness, their transition, etc. And while it’s hard to make everybody happy, our we’re there when you need us commitment drives us to try.

If you’re an ESP user, will become an ESP user, or want to start using ESP, here are five important resources that will help to ensure a favorable experience:

  1. ESP resource website – a one-stop-shop for training, tutorials, FAQs, and guides
  2. ESP video – learn about functionality, shortcuts, and system benefits
  3. ESP brochure – get the most out of this intuitive system by harnessing its full potential
  4. ESP contact us – submit the form and one of our representatives will connect with you
  5. ESP helpdesk – reachable by calling 1.855.748.7850

The vast majority of our customers agree that our online drug testing portal works, is easy to use, and improves the drug testing programs. But learning how to leverage a new system can be intimidating. We understand. Change is hard. But like Moore said, advancements are coming and they are coming fast. Paper drug testing forms will soon be a thing of the past as more companies leverage the advantages of online solutions. If technology isn’t your thing and you worry you may be among the five percent for whom a bad experience seems inevitable, taking a few minutes to utilize the resources listed above will go a long way to exponentially improving your odds of having a great experience with ESP.

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

What was in that brownie?

September 12, 2017Drug Testing

You know the smell. The someone’s-smoking-pot-smell. But did you know that, when baked, marijuana can become odorless, undetectable, and may even be more potent than when it is smoked1? Unfortunately, the Davis Regional Medical Center emergency room staff unwittingly learned this lesson firsthand. In April 2017, an employee unknowingly brought in baked goods that were […]

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Addiction Recovery: A Celebration of Life

September 6, 2017Drugs & Alcohol

“Recovery makes me feel like that empty space in my heart is finally filled. I have the motivation and drive that I have never experienced before. For the first time in my life, I believe I have a purpose, and I am so much more than just a hopeless junkie sentenced to a life of […]

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Top 7 Trends at SAPAA

August 30, 2017Drug Testing

Hundreds of drug and alcohol testing industry professionals met in Las Vegas for the annual Substance Abuse Program Administrators Association (SAPAA) conference last week. As a platinum sponsor, we are proud to support a group whose mission is to establish, promote, and communicate the highest standards of quality, integrity, and professionalism in the administration of workplace […]

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DEA proposal to curb production of prescription drugs

August 24, 2017News

On August 7, 2017 the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) published a proposal which would establish a production limit on the manufacturing of several controlled substances starting in 2018. This reduction is supported by data obtained from IMS Health and will impact the production of commonly prescribed Schedule II opioid painkillers such as: Oxycodone Hydrocodone Oxymorphone […]

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I’m There: Joshua Weaver

August 14, 2017We're There

Not limiting ourselves to a defined job role sets Quest Diagnostics apart from the competition. Joshua Weaver, Specimen Custodian in our Lenexa, Kansas laboratory, believes in taking action to do whatever needs to be done. His commitment to delivering above and beyond expectations demonstrates how our we’re there mindset is ingrained in our culture. In this month’s feature […]

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Clarifying the Changes in Federal Workplace Drug Testing & Documentation

August 11, 2017Drug Testing

Earlier this year, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) revised the Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs. The HHS guideline revisions will lead to the following changes: Expanded Federal urine workplace drug testing to include four Schedule II drugs: hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxycodone, and oxymorphone Removed MDEA for confirmatory testing Raised the […]

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An Exploration of Addiction: Trauma and Adult Substance Abuse

August 7, 2017Drug Testing

Our series has taken a closer look at the temptations of adolescent life and how experimentation and excess as young adults can feed substance use disorders. Sometimes trauma can push someone across the very thin line between a casual drug habit and addiction. As adults, we face endless challenges. Stress is a part of life […]

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