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Positive Workplace Drug Tests Hit 16-Year High

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By    |   Tuesday, 25 August 2020 12:06 PM

The number of positive drug tests in workplaces have jumped to their highest level in 16 years, likely due to many states legalizing recreational marijuana, The Wall Street Journal reports.

In 2019, the number of workers in the U.S. who tested positive for drugs reached 4.5%, the highest it’s been in 16 years according to Quest Diagnostics Inc., one of the largest drug-testing laboratories in the country.

Quest found that while positive tests for methamphetamine and cocaine have increased, marijuana positives saw the biggest jump, up 11% last year from the year before, and up 29% since 2015. The Journal notes that in that time, six states and the District of Columbia passed laws that legalized recreational marijuana. 

Positive rates for strong narcotics like opiates dropped by 19% in 2019 from the previous year, down 45% since 2015, and positive tests for heroin, specifically, fell by 33% since 2018.

“There is concern about the potential impact that Covid-19 is having on depression and people’s substance use patterns,” said Barry Sample, senior director for science and technology at Quest.

Dale Gieringer, California director at the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws notes that marijuana can remain in a person’s system for several days after usage, and that a positive drug test “doesn't really tell you much about how well a person performed on the job,” comparing testing to “looking through workers' trash at the end of the weekend and seeing if there are any empty beer or wine bottles in it.”

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The number of positive drug tests in workplaces have jumped to their highest level in 16 years, likely due to many states legalizing recreational marijuana, The Wall Street Journal reports.In 2019, the number of workers in the U.S. who tested positive for drugs reached...
drugtests, workplace, employees, report
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2020-06-25
Tuesday, 25 August 2020 12:06 PM
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