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Hydrocodone and Oxycodones Lead U.S. General Workforce Positives, Outranked Only by Marijuana, According to Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™
Date:10/11/2011

MADISON, N.J., Oct. 11, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- American workers continue to use prescription opiates at relatively high levels, according to Drug Testing Index™ (DTI) data released today by Quest Diagnostics Incorporated (NYSE: DGX), the world's leading provider of diagnostic testing, information and services. Hydrocodone and oxycodones remain the most detected prescription opiates in the U.S. general workforce, with 1.3% and 1.1% positivity rates, respectively, in the first half of 2011. Compared to 2005 levels, oxycodones are 96% higher (0.56% vs. 1.1%) and hydrocodone 47% higher (0.88% vs. 1.3%) in positive prevalence.

According to Drug Testing Index data from urine drug tests, only marijuana, at 2.0% in the first half of 2011, holds a positivity rate higher than hydrocodone (1.3%) and oxycodones (1.1%). This ranking is consistent with 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health self-reported survey findings recently released by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, showing marijuana as the top drug associated with initiation of illicit drug use and pain relievers as second in ranking.

"The use and misuse of prescription opiates continue to capture national attention," said Dr. Barry Sample, Quest Diagnostics Director of Science and Technology for Employer Solutions. "The findings of this study reinforce the need for businesses to develop and communicate clear policies around both the medical and non-medical use of these drugs, especially for their safety-sensitive workers. Empowering employees to perform duties safely, act appropriately when they perceive risk, and understand clearly the consequences of non-medical use of these drugs and of being found to have violated their employer's drug policy all play an important role in worker and public safety."

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SOURCE Quest Diagnostics Incorporated
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