Quest Diagnostics has released the findings of their 2019 study on positive drug tests. According to the study, U.S. workers tested positive for illicit drugs at the highest rate in 16 years. This trend could continue in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over 9 million samples of general workforce and safety-sensitive employees were taken and examined by Quest Diagnostics researchers. 4.5% of the samples were positive, which is the highest percentage since 2003. This was an increase from 4.4% in 2018.
“There is no question that before COVID-19, rates of workplace drug positivity were trending in the wrong direction,” said Barry Sample, senior director of science and technology for Quest Diagnostics. “The enormous strain caused by COVID-19 may prove to be an accelerant on this disturbing trend. Organizations will need to consider the impact of COVID-19 not only on workplace safety but also as a health concern for their employees for some time to come.”
The study also found that over a 5-year period from 2015 to 2019, the increased positive rates were predominately in the West and Midwest regions, where methamphetamine rates increased almost 78%, cocaine positivity increased 53%, and marijuana increased 24%.
Marijuana continues to be the most commonly-detected illegal drug.
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