Last year saw the highest percentage of positive workplace drug tests since 2004, with 4.4% of American workers showing traces of drugs such as marijuana, amphetamines, opiates, cocaine, and heroin in their systems, according to the results of a new study published Wednesday.
Key findings from a Quest Diagnostics analysis, first reported by The Wall Street Journal include:
- The number of positive tests for marijuana jumped more than 7% and the overall percentage of positives detected was 2.8% in the general U.S. workforce last year.
- The federally mandated, safety-sensitive workforce turned in a 0.88% rate of positive tests, with the number of positives rising nearly 5% from 2017.
- The general and safety-mandated workforces combined to register a rate of 4.4% positive tests for drugs last year. The number of positives was nearly 5% higher than it was in 2017.
- There was a 21% decrease in positives for opiates from 2017 to 2018. Since 2015, the number of positive opiate tests has fallen by 37%.
The results indicate that the increase in states with legalized marijuana could be resulting in a larger number of failed drug tests in the workplace.
"Our in-depth analysis shows that marijuana is not only present in our workforce, but use continues to increase," said Barry Sample, PhD, senior director, science and technology, Quest Diagnostics.
"As marijuana policy changes, and employers consider strategies to protect their employees, customers and general public, employers should weigh the risks that drug use, including marijuana, poses to their business."
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