Quest Diagnostics release 2011 drug testing analysis

Quest Diagnostics have released an analysis of drug testing in the workplace over the first six months of 2011 – providing us with a look at a national level as to which substances are being the most widely used, and the common misconceptions in the industry. We want to share this information with you, to provide you with a transparency and insight which will help you to make your decision on pre-employment screening. The report tells us that “American workers continue to use prescription opiates at relatively high levels”, while “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.” As one would expect, “marijuana, at 2.0% in the first half of 2011, holds a positivity rate higher than hydrocodone (1.3%) and oxycodones (1.1%)”. The line between medical marijuana and prescription drugs, and whether they should be allowed in the workplace, remains a blurred one so this statistic does not come as a surprise. “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.” One aspect of the study we found to be particularly significant was how drug testing of current employees resulted in dramatically more positives for prescription opiates than pre-employment drug testing: “Pre-employment screening revealed a 0.85% positivity rate for hydrocodone and a 0.65% positivity rate for oxycodones. However, random drug test positivity was nearly double, at 1.6% and 1.2%, respectively. Post-accident testing for hydrocodone and oxycodones continue to reveal dramatically higher rates of positivity at 3.7% and 1.8%, respectively.” This emphasize the fact that it is not enough to simply perform drug tests on job applicants, but that it is important to test your current workforce also. Just because someone provides a clean drug test when they join your company, it does not mean they will remain clean throughout their employment. To discuss how Mind Your Business can help implement drug screening at your business, contact us today. For more information on the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index, visit www.QuestDiagnostics.com/DTI.]]>

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