Substance use negatively affects U.S. industry through lost productivity, workplace accidents and injuries, employee absenteeism, low morale, and increased illness. U.S. companies lose billions of dollars a year because of employees' alcohol and drug use and related problems. Research shows that the rate of substance use varies by occupation and industry.
About These Statistics
These statistics are based upon Quest Diagnostics’ 2019 Drug Testing Index report that has analyzed over 10 million workplace drug tests over three decades. The data are organized by industry which includes all positions within that industry, except for federally mandated safety-sensitive positions such as with transportation positions or nuclear operators, for example.
- According to Quest Diagnostics, the urine drug test positivity rate among the non-safety-sensitive workforce in the U.S. is at 4.5 percent which is the highest level since 2004. This number is 25 percent higher than the lowest recorded rate of 3.5 percent in 2010 and 2012.
- Marijuana is the most commonly detected drug among all of the workforce including safety-sensitive.
- Opiates testing positivity decreased by 37 percent to its lowest level in 4 years to .31 percent. Opioids testing positivity has similarly decreased by 46 percent to its lowest level in five years to .43 percent.
- The U.S. general workforce positivity rate increased from 4.8 percent in 2015 to 5.1 percent in 2018.
- Two industries, Other Services and Retail Trade, both had positivity rates above the national average of 5.1 percent with 5.4 percent and 5.2 percent respectively.
- Six industry sectors had double-digit increases between 2015 and 2018 in drug testing positivity rates that were twice the national positivity rate increase of 6.2 percent. These industries were:
- Transportation & Warehousing 34.5%
- Other Services 33.3%
- Wholesale Trade 20.0%
- Retail Trade 14.9%
- Construction 13.2%
- Administrative Support, Waste Management, & Remediation Services 12.2%
- Eight industry sectors saw double-digit increases between 2015 – 2018 in marijuana positivity rates compared to the national average of 16.7 percent. These industries were:
- Other services 61.9%
- Transportation & Warehousing 53.3%
- Mining 50.0%
- Wholesale Trade 47.1%
- Construction 46.7%
- Manufacturing 38.5%
- Accommodations & Food Services 37.9%
- Administrative Support, Waste Management, & Remediation Services 33.3%
- Retail Trade 29.6%
- On the positive side, the Information Services industry saw a double-digit decrease in marijuana positivity rates with a 12.5% decrease between 2015 and 2018, and was the only industry sector with a decrease between 2017 and 2018.