Research/studies Drugs

More workers testing positive for drugs: study

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Madison, NJ – For the first time in more than a decade, the percentage of positive drug tests among U.S. workers has increased, according to a report from lab services provider Quest Diagnostics.

Researchers analyzed data from 8.5 million worker drug tests, looking at results from three test types (urine, oral fluids and hair) for three worker categories: private companies (general workforce), employees who undergo federal drug testing and a combination of both groups.

Of the 7.6 million urine tests, 3.7 percent were positive for drugs in 2013 – up from 3.5 percent in 2012. The last time the positivity rate increased from one year to the next was between 2002 (4.4 percent) and 2003 (4.5 percent).

Positive marijuana tests rose 6.2 percent in the overall workforce – and by 20 percent and 23 percent in Colorado and Washington, respectively. Both states have legalized recreational marijuana use.

Positive tests for amphetamines – including methamphetamine and prescription drugs for ADHD and narcolepsy – increased 10 percent in the combined workforce. However, positive tests for the pain reliever oxycodone declined 8.3 percent.