Positive Workforce Drug Tests Reach A 12 Year High

(Summer 2017) Each year Quest Diagnostics, the world’s leading provider of diagnostic information, releases their Drug Testing Index™.  This report examines drug test results from the general workforce and federally mandated, safety-sensitive workforce to identify drug use trends.


The 2017 report, which analyzed over 10 million tests in 2016, was released in May.  One key takeaway from the report is that the rate of positive drug tests rose to its highest level in 12 years.  Specifically, cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine use played a large role in the increase.


The increase in use “…should serve as a reminder to employers and employees that there is no substitute for vigilance in an effective effort to thwart the potential impacts of workplace substance abuse,” said Matt Nieman, general counsel, Institute for a Drug-Free Workplace and principal, Jackson Lewis P.C.


Other data of interest from the report:

  • The number of positive urine tests is the highest it’s been since 2004 and increased by 5% from 4% in 2015 to 4.2% in 2016.
  • General workforce tests positive for methamphetamines rose 64% since 2012.
  • Post-accident drug tests positive for cocaine are two times higher than the rate positive random test and even higher than pre-employment tests.
  • Oral fluid tests positive for marijuana – indicating recent use – increased 75% over the previous year to 8.9%.
  • The rate of positive marijuana tests in Colorado and Washington outpaced the national average for the first time ever, climbing 11% in Colorado to 2.9% and 9% in Washington to 3.08%. The nationally the rate of positive marijuana tests increased only 4%.
  • Tests positive for heroin held steady for the general workforce and fell slightly for the federally-mandated, safety sensitive workforce.
  • The rate of tests positive for opiates, e.g., hydrocodone, hydromorphone and oxycodone, declined in 2016.

To read more about Quest Diagnostics’ report visit their website.



Return to Home Page

(DON’T FORGET: Click on the boxes to the right for our columns)