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Drug Test Positives On the Rise?

When is a positive not a positive? When it comes to drug test positives in the workplace, an increase in positive results is the worst thing you want to see in the workplace.  Get the facts from a recent study, learn why this increase could hurt your workplace, and see what you can do to protect your business.

5.5% Increase in Drug Test Positives

The percentage of positive drug tests among American workers has increased for the first time in more than a decade, fueled by a rise in marijuana and amphetamines, according to an analysis of 8.5 million urine, oral fluid and hair workplace drug test results released today by Quest Diagnostics, the world’s leading provider of diagnostic information services.
Related: Importance of Industrial Medicine in 21st Century
The Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index (DTI) shows that the positivity rate for 7.6 million urine drug tests in the combined U.S. workforce increased to 3.7 percent in 2013, compared to 3.5 percent in 2012. The relative increase of 5.7 percent year-over-year is the first time the positivity rate for combined national workplace urine drug tests has increased since 2003.

Major Increases in Marijuana and Amphetamines

Marijuana continues to be the most commonly detected illicit drug, according to the DTI analysis of urine drug tests. Marijuana positivity in the combined U.S. workforce increased 6.2 percent, to 1.7 percent in 2013 compared to 1.6 percent in 2012.
In the safety-sensitive workforce, marijuana positivity increased 5.6 percent (0.67% vs. 0.63%). In the general U.S. workforce, the positivity rate increased 5 percent, to 2.1 percent in 2013 compared to 2.0 percent in the prior year.
Continuing a multi-year upward trend, amphetamines use – specifically the use of methamphetamine – showed an increase across all three specimen types. Combined U.S. workforce data in urine showed a 10 percent (0.85% vs. 0.77%) year-over-year increase in amphetamines positivity in 2013 compared to 2012.

Decreases in Oxycodone Use

The DTI data also reported declines for prescription opiates positivity in urine drug tests. Prescription opiates refer to drugs used for pain management, such as hydrocodone and oxycodones. The current data shows oxycodones positivity declined 8.3 percent (0.88% vs. 0.96%) between 2013 and 2012 and 12.7 percent (0.96% vs. 1.1%) between 2012 and 2011 in the combined U.S. workforce.

Dangers of Intoxication in the Workplace

While some drug users will indulge in occasional, recreational use of drugs when not at work, the presence of a drug in an individual’s body can be a sign of a serious chemical addiction and may also be an indication of an underlying personality disorder that would make that individual a poor choice as an employee. Below are several ways that drug screening of potential employees can benefit an employer.

Some work conditions involve the use of heavy machinery or performance of other tasks that require the full concentration of the employee. The intrinsic hazards of these workplaces are multiplied when an employee is under the influence of drugs. Drug testing helps prevent a potentially impaired employee from attempting to perform complex or dangerous tasks and possibly harming himself or other employees.

Protecting Your Business and Your Employees

On a job site, you are responsible for the protection and wellbeing of your employees.  Without regular (or random) drug testing, pre-employment drug testing, or post-injury drug testing; you put your business and employees at risk of one careless employee who could injure, steal from, or in any other form cause harm to those around him or her.
Nova Medical Centers, with occupational health clinics in Texas, Georgia, and Tennessee will provide on-site drug and alcohol testing to employees and if needed can provide verifiable and immediate results.  Nova Medical Centers drug testing services include:

  • 24/7 onsite drug and alcohol testing capability
  • Real-Time customized web-based reporting
  • DOT-regulated drug screening reported ONLINE within 24-48 hrs
  • Pre-employment drug screening reported ONLINE within 24-48 hrs
  • RAPID/INSTANT drug testing reported ONLINE REAL-TIME
  • eScreen/eCup provider with ONLINE reporting interface
  • Breath Alcohol Testing (EBAT)

Nova Medical Centers’ team of medical professionals are experts in ADA, DOT, NIOSH, OSHA and other state and federal regulations which govern the occupational medicine industry. This expertise is a necessary component to help avoid potential risks and loss.  Contact us to see what we can do to help you protect your employees and business.

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