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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

193,000 paired hair-urine specimens over a five and a half year period. Workforce drug screening results comprised approximately 80 percent of the data while the remaining 20 percent included results from criminal justice and family and social services drug testing.

Consistent with positivity rate data in the DTI special report, the analysis of the paired specimens showed that the overall drug use hair positivity rate, at 12.6 percent, is higher than that of urine, 7.6 percent. In addition, hair results showed a higher positivity rate than urine for cocaine, 4.8 percent versus 0.65 percent, as well as for methamphetamine, 5.9 percent versus 1.8 percent. Yet hair and urine testing positivity rates were identical for marijuana, with both at 3.4 percent.

According to Dr. Sample, in addition to affording a valuable "apples-to-apples" comparison of positivity rates for hair and urine, the paired analysis helps to provide a more complete picture of drug use within a cohort. The paired study revealed that, of the 100 percent of positives found for cocaine, 87 percent were positive in hair and negative in urine, while 2 percent were positive in urine yet not in hair. The remaining 11 percent were positive in both.

Of the 100 percent of positives found for marijuana, nearly 31 percent were positive in hair but not in urine, and an equal amount, nearly 31 percent, were positive in urine, yet not in hair. The remaining 39 percent were positive for marijuana in both.

Testing of a hair sample is valued by employers because it serves as a reservoir of sorts, one that reflects repeated drug presence in the body. Urine reflects the drug's presence during the first few days after use, when it is still circulating through the body. Employers value the insights provided by a urine sample because it reflects recent use of a drug, even if only in a single instance. A hair sample does not reflect a single event of drug use, recent or otherwise
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SOURCE Quest Diagnostics Incorporated
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