More American Workers Are Testing Positive for Drugs

Monday, June 12, 2017

Wall Street Journal (05/16/17) Weber, Lauren

More U.S. workers are testing positive for illicit drugs than at any time in the last 12 years, according to Quest Diagnostics Inc. The number of workers who tested positive for marijuana increased by 4.0 percent, and positive results for other drugs also jumped. In 2016, 4.2 percent of the 8.9 million urine drug tests that Quest conducted on behalf of employers came back positive, an increase from 4.0 percent in 2015. It also marks the highest rate since 2004, when 4.5 percent of tests showed evidence of potentially illicit drug use. Marijuana was identified in 2.5 percent of all urine tests for the general workforce last year, up from 2.4 percent a year earlier, making it the most commonly used drug among U.S. workers. The increases come against a backdrop of more liberal marijuana state laws and an apparent resurgence in the use of drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine. Of U.S. workers tested by Quest, traces of cocaine were found in 0.28 percent of tests. The share of positive results from post-accident tests was more than twice as high as the rate from pre-employment assessments.

Lauren Weber 6/12/2017

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