Due to increased use of cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana, drug use by American workers remains at the highest rate seen in more than a decade, Quest Diagnostic reports.
This conclusion was drawn from analysis of more than 10 million worker drug tests conducted between January and December of last year.
Nationally, the positivity rate for the combined U.S. workforce held steady at 4.2% in 2017, the same as in 2016, but a dramatic increase over the 3.5% positivity rate from 2012, which represented a thirty-year low.
The analysis of 2017 data also suggests shifting patterns of drug use, with cocaine and amphetamine positivity surging in some areas of the country and marijuana positivity rising sharply in states with newer recreational use statutes.
Methamphetamine positivity skyrocketed in Midwest and South. Quest reported. On the other hand, prescription opiate positivity rates declined dramatically on a national basis.
“The depth of our large-scale analysis supports the possibility that efforts by policymakers, employers, and the medical community to decrease the availability of opioid prescriptions and curtail the opioid crisis is working to reduce their use, at least among the working public,” said Quest Diagnostics Scientific Director Kim Samano.
However, for drug classes and in areas of the country drug positivity rates are increasing.
Dr. Barry Sample, Quest senior director, science and technology, noted, “These changing patterns and geographical variations may challenge the ability of employers to anticipate the ‘drug of choice’ for their workforce or where to best focus their drug prevention efforts to ensure a safe and healthy work environment.”