The Wall Street Journal

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.

Shortage of Drug-Free Job Applicants

by Nicole Jupe on December 2, 2016

dti-drug-testing-chartMany 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 Science and Technology, Quest Diagnostics, told Briefings that in different markets, employers are finding it increasingly difficult to identify people through their screening who are not using drugs.

The latest Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ (DTI) analysis revealed a 10-year high for overall positivity in the combined U.S. workforce and the fifth straight year of increases in detection rate of amphetamine, heroin, and marijuana. Media, government, and other research sources echo the DTI’s insights about the trend of escalating drug use in America. For example:

Substance abuse in the workplace costs employers billions of dollars annually with negative impacts such as higher absenteeism, lower productivity, and a greater risk for accidents or injury. As the country faces a mounting drug problem, drug-free workplace programs attempt to filter out drug users and deter substance abuse in the workforce.

Read the full Briefings article: A Test That Too Many People Fail.

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

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Drug Positivity Rises in the Railroad Industry

September 19, 2016Drug Testing

Drug testing has some early origins in the railroad industry. In 1987, two trains collided in Chase, Maryland killing 12 and making it the deadliest crash in Amtrak’s history. After learning that the crew of the train that failed to stop tested positive for marijuana, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) swiftly overhauled its drug and alcohol […]

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Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index: Drug Positivity in U.S. Workforce Rises to Highest Level in a Decade

September 15, 2016Drug Testing

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. In examining the latest data, Barry Sample, Ph.D., Senior Director of Science and Technology […]

Read the full article →

Drug Testing Index: Illicit Drug Test Positivity Rate Increases

June 3, 2015News

The Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ (DTI) reveals insights into patterns of drug use among the American workforce. Published annually for more than 25 years, the Drug Testing Index examines positivity rates for workplace drug tests. Quest reports these findings as a public service for government, employers, policymakers and the general public. In examining the […]

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25 Years of Workplace Drug Testing in America

November 18, 2013News

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the Drug-Free Workplace Act, an important milestone in our country to keep workplaces safe. President Ronald Reagan signed this act into law on November 18, 1988 which required that Federal contractors and grantees agree to provide drug-free workplaces as a precondition of receiving a contract or grant from a Federal […]

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Testing Helps to Find Drug-Free Workers

January 11, 2013Drug Testing

The Wall Street Journal reports that amphetamine and pain-killer use is a hurdle to hiring during Appalachia’s oil-and-gas boom. Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia employers say widespread drug use, particularly the abuse of prescription drugs, is affecting hiring. “This creates challenges in the region, amid a wave of recruitment by natural-gas drillers and trucking, pipeline […]

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