May 24, 2017
(Photo credit: Ron Wurzer/Getty Images)
In 2016, American workers tested positive for drug use at the highest rate in 12 years, according to The Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index (DTI) released earlier this month.
Quest Diagnostics, a leading U.S. drug-testing services provider, tested nearly nine million urine samples from January to December 2016. Approximately 4.2 percent of those tests came up positive for drug use. That’s up from 4 percent in 2015, and it’s the highest annual positivity rate since 2004.
“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,” Barry Sample, Ph.D., senior director of science and technology at Quest Diagnostics, said in a release .
According to the company’s findings, cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine detection increased broadly across the U.S. workforce in 2016.
Other findings :
Cocaine detection saw a dramatic 12 percent increase in 2016, reaching a seven-year high with 0.28 percent of workers testing positive for the drug.
Methamphetamine detection increased 64 percent among the general U.S. workforce between 2012 (0.48 percent positivity) and 2016 (0.63 percent positivity).
Heroin detection plateaued among the general U.S. workforce in 2016, and prescription opiate detection declined.
Marijuana urine detection rates among the general U.S. workforce increased 4 percent from 2015 to 2016, with 2.5 percent of U.S. workers testing positive for the substance in 2016.
Marijuana urine detection rates were higher among workers in Colorado (2.9 percent positivity) and Washington (3.08 percent positivity) – where the drug is legal for adult use – than detection rates among the general workforce in 2016 (2.5 percent).
Despite the 12-year highs, failed workplace drug testing rates were significantly lower in 2016 than any year during the 1990s, when failed drug tests ranged from 4.6 percent to 11 percent, according to Quest Diagnostics’ records.
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SEATTLE, WA - APRIL 16: Patrick Beentjes of Scienta int'l inc, holds up urine container to be used for a drug test at the Drug & Alcohol Testing Industry Association annual conference in Seattle on April 16, 2004. (Photo by Ron Wurzer/Getty Images)
Ron Wurzer/Getty Images
Republican Gov. Robert J. Bentley signed Senate Bill 63 into law in April 2014. The law became effective on Oct. 1, 2015, and requires anyone applying for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) who has had a drug conviction within five years of applying be drug tested prior to receiving benefits. One positive drug screening results in a warning. Two positive drug screenings render an individual ineligible for TANF assistance for one year after the date of the second positive drug test. A third positive drug screening results in permanent TANF ineligibility in the state. (Birmingham, AL – Photo credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Republican Gov. Jan Brewer (2009 -2015) announced in 2009 that Arizona would begin requiring suspicion-based urine testing for drugs for adult TANF applicants and recipients, making it the first state to implement such a policy. The law took effect in 2010. (Arizona landscape – Photo credit: David McNew/Getty Images)
Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed Senate Bill 600 into law in 2015, which established a two-year pilot program requiring suspicion-based drug testing for all TANF applicants and recipients. In February 2017, the Arkansas Senate passed Senate Bill 123, which made the drug-testing pilot program a permanent state law. (Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, AR – Photo credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Republican Gov. Nathan Deal signed House Bill 772 into law in April 2014, requiring the Department of Social Services to drug test any TANF or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) applicants or recipients suspected of drug abuse. The inclusion of drug testing for SNAP applicants and recipients was later deemed a violation of federal law. (Atlanta skyline, GA – Photo credit: Getty Images/Staff)
Kansas lawmakers passed Senate Bill 149 and Republican Gov. Sam Brownback signed the bill into law in April 2013. The law became effective Jan. 1, 2014, and requires drug testing for TANF applicants and recipients when reasonable suspicion exists that the person is using controlled substances. (Tornado in Dodge City, KS – Photo credit: Brian Davidson/Getty Images)
Republican Gov. Rick Snyder signed House Bill 4118 and Senate Bill 275 in December 2014, which established a one-year pilot program requiring suspicion-based drug testing for TANF applicants and recipients. The program expired on Sept. 30, 2016. Lawmakers are currently determining whether the program should be renewed or not. (Detroit, MI – Photo credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Republican Gov. Phil Bryant signed House Bill 49 into law on Mar. 24, 2014. The law took effect on July 1, 2014, and requires all TANF applicants complete a written questionnaire to screen for illegal drug use. If an individual is suspected of illegal drug use, they must take a drug test. If they test positive, they must undergo treatment and test negative at the end of treatment to be eligible for benefits. (Shrimp boats in Gulfport, MS – Photo credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon signed House Bill 73 into law on July 12, 2011. The law took effect on Aug. 28, 2011, and requires all TANF applicants and recipients suspected of illegal drug use to undergo drug testing. (St. Louis, MO –Photo credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
House Bill 392 was enacted in September 2013, after North Carolina’s General Assembly voted to override Republican Gov. Pat McCrory’s veto. The measure took effect in August 2015, and requires TANF applicants to undergo background checks and drug testing prior to receiving benefits. (Charlotte skyline, NC – Photo credit: Craig Jones/Getty Images)
Republican Gov. Mary Fallin signed House Bill 2388 on May 16, 2012, requiring all TANF applicants be screened for illegal drug use. If the person is determined to be engaged in illegal use of controlled substances, benefits will be denied. The law took effect on Nov. 1, 2012. (Tornado damage in Moore, OK, on May 27, 2014 – Photo credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tennessee passed Senate Bill 2580 in 2012, which requires suspicion-based drug screening and testing for TANF applicants. The law took effect July 1, 2014. (Nashville, TN – Photo credit: Jeff Gentner/Getty Images)
Utah House Bill 155 took effect May 8, 2012, and requires all TANF applicants to fill out a written drug-screening questionnaire. Anyone suspected of illegal drug use must take a drug test. If they test positive, they must complete treatment and remain drug free to reapply for benefits after 90 days. (Park City landscape, UT – Photo credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
Republican Gov. Scott Walker approved administrative rules in November 2015 requiring substance abuse screening, testing and treatment under the Transform Milwaukee program, the Transitional Jobs program and the Wisconsin Works programs. The rule may also apply to adults seeking unemployment benefits and those participating in the FoodShare Employment Training Program for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. The federal government has indicated this violates federal law. Wisconsin has sued the federal government, seeking clarity on the law. (Photo credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)