Industryweek 33677 Opiods

Workforce Drug Use Rises by Double Digits

Dec. 26, 2018
In the manufacturing sector, both marijuana and methamphetamine use rose by more than 23% and 27%, respectively, between 2015 and 2017.

While many companies are dealing with drug use in the workplace, the increase over the past two years is steep.  Between 2015 and 2017, drug used increased by double-digits, as reported recently by Quest Diagnostics. The company reviewed data from more than ten million urine drug test results in five U.S. industry sectors.

The data from the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index industry analysis show that five sectors experienced year-over-year increases with a double-digit increase in their positivity rates between 2015 and 2017: Transportation and Warehousing (21.4%); Other Services (Except Public Administration) (15.4%); Finance and Insurance (13%); Retail Trade (12.8%); and Wholesale Trade (11.8%).

"As companies consider strategies to protect their workplaces, they should also consider the risks that employees who use drugs present to their co-workers, customers and the general public," said Kimberly Samano, Ph.D., scientific director, Employer Solutions, Quest Diagnostics. "This new analysis suggests that an increasing number of applicants and employees across various industries may be misusing dangerous drugs."

Consistent with the annual Drug Testing Index report, marijuana was the most commonly detected substance, with the highest drug positivity rate of all drug classes across the majority of industry sectors.

Eight sectors experienced year-over-year increases with at least 20% increases in marijuana positivity rates between 2015 and 2017:

  • Transportation and Warehousing (33.3%)
  • Other Services (except Public Administration) (33.3%)
  • Construction (26.7%)
  • Wholesale Trade (23.5%)
  •  Manufacturing (23.1%)
  •  Accommodation and Food Services (20.7%)
  • Administrative Support, Waste Management and Remediation Services (19.0%)
  • Retail Trade (18.5%)

 Looking at other drugs the report found that cocaine positivity is higher in most sectors in 2017 as compared to 2015. In the Manufacturing sector, both marijuana and methamphetamine positivity increased year-over-year, by more than 23% and 27%, respectively, between 2015 and 2017. During that same time period, the Transportation and Warehousing sector experienced the largest overall positivity increase of any sector, in large part due to significant increases in both cocaine and marijuana positivity. Year-over-year cocaine positivity increased more than 22% between 2015 and 2017 (0.22% in 2015, 0.25% in 2016, and 0.27% in 2017). Marijuana positivity increased by more than 33% over the same timeframe.

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