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Drug Use Among American Workers Declined 74% Over Past 25 Years, Finds Unprecedented Analysis of More Than 125 Million Workplace Urine Drug Tests
Date:11/18/2013

ositions subject to certain federal safety regulations, such as truck drivers, train operators, airline and nuclear power plant workers (federally mandated safety-sensitive workers); workers primarily from private companies (U.S. general workforce); and the results of both groups together (combined U.S. workforce). The index reports the percentage of results that tested positive for the presence of a drug or its metabolite, an adulterant or that involved a specimen that was deemed to be unacceptable for testing ("positivity"). The company's testing services identify approximately 20 commonly abused drugs, including marijuana, opiates and cocaine.

Key findings from the analysis:

  • The positivity rate for the combined U.S. workforce declined 74%, from 13.6% in 1988 to 3.5% in 2012.
  • The positivity rate for the federally-mandated safety sensitive workforce declined by 38%, from 2.6% in 1992 to 1.6% in 2012.
  • The positivity rate for the U.S. general workforce declined by 60%, from 10.3% in 1992 to 4.1% in 2012.

Despite the declines in overall drug use, the DTI analysis also found that the positivity rate for certain segments of drugs has increased.

  • Positivity rates for amphetamines, including amphetamine and methamphetamine, has nearly tripled (196% higher) in the combined U.S. workforce and, in 2012, were at the highest level since 1997. The positivity rate for amphetamine itself, including prescription medications such as Adderall®, has more than doubled in the last 10 years.
  • Positivity rates for prescription opiates, which include the drugs hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxycodone and oxymorphone, have also increased steadily over the last decade – more than doubling for hydrocodone and hydromorphone and up 71% for oxycodone – reflective of national prescribing trends.

These data are co
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SOURCE Quest Diagnostics
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