Workforce Drug Positivity at Highest Rate in a Decade

Positive drug test results remained at 4.2 percent at American workplaces in 2017, matching 2016’s rate as the highest since it was 4.5 percent in 2004, according to an annual report from Quest Diagnostics.

The Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index also found that positive tests for cocaine and amphetamines greatly increased in many locations.

Positive tests for cocaine rose in the general U.S. workforce for the fifth consecutive year in all methods of testing, including urine, saliva and hair. Some states, including Nebraska, Idaho, Washington, Nevada, Maryland, and Wisconsin, saw at least a 10 percent increase in positive cocaine results in at least four of the past five years.

Between 2013 and 2017, methamphetamine positivity increased in much of the U.S. The East North Central Division of the Midwest (defined by the U.S. Census as Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin), saw the largest increase at 167 percent.

As may be expected, marijuana positivity in states that recently legalized recreational use of the drug also increased. The rate increased in the overall workforce from 2016 to 2017, but the biggest jumps came in Nevada (43 percent), Massachusetts (11 percent) and California (11 percent), all states that enacted recreational use laws since 2016.

While many drug test positivity rates increased, the study did find that prescription opiate positivity continues to drop. From 2016 to 2017, positive test rates in urine tests declined 17 percent. Opiates other than codeine were at their lowest rates in more than a decade. Furthermore, positive heroin tests dipped in 2017 to .033 percent, an 11 percent drop from the previous year.

Interested in establishing a Drug Free Workplace of your own? Contact our Occupational Health experts at SCT, who can guide you through the process. If your company is based in Ohio, you may even be eligible for a discount on your workers’ compensation premiums. Call us at 1-800-204-1729 or complete the contact form below!