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New Hair Data Validate Sharp Downward Trend in Cocaine and Methamphetamine Positivity in General U.S. Workforce, According to Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index(TM)
Date:11/20/2009

the 0.90 percent methamphetamine positivity rate in hair testing is nine times that of the 0.10 positivity found in urine. Overall drug use detected by hair testing during the same period reached 6.9 percent positivity; urine reached 4.2 percent.

"Hair has a longer memory than urine when it comes to finding patterns of drug use. That's because a drug test on a small amount of hair can detect a drug user's repeated consumption of a substance over time, while a test of a urine sample can signal drug use in the prior one to three days," according to Barry Sample, Ph.D., director of science and technology, Quest Diagnostics' Employer Solutions division. "Looking at hair and urine data from the same time period--and seeing both long-term repetitive use and recent use--gives us a more complex and sophisticated view of workforce drug habits. This special DTI report suggests that while law enforcement and employer drug testing efforts appear to be working, there is more drug use in the American workforce than shown by urine data alone."

Urine testing is the most common drug screening method and detects recent or new drug use, typically in the one to three days prior to testing. Urine testing is suitable for all testing reasons--from pre-employment to random to post-accident--and is performed on a wide variety of drug substances, both illicit and prescribed (i.e., prescription drugs, for which their use or misuse could impact workplace safety).

Hair testing is a newer technology that has been experiencing gradual adoption over the past decade. While workplace hair testing focuses on illicit drugs and tests for fewer substances than does urine testing (which may include tests for prescription drugs), it provides a much longer detection period. Hair testing will not detect a single instance of drug use, but rather a pattern of repetitive use over a period of up to 90 days. The longer detection period for hair testing presents a greater window
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SOURCE Quest Diagnostics Incorporated
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