Quest Diagnostics released its annual Drug Testing Index analysis report revealing that positivity rates for workplace drug testing has dramatically increased over a 16-year period. Based upon over 9 million urine drug tests, the 2019 positivity rate is the highest since 2003 (4.5%).
It was no surprise to learn that marijuana was the most frequently discovered drug in workplace drug testing with positivity rising by nearly 11% over 2018 and 29% in the past 5- year period. The Midwest and the West surpassed the national average by increasing 14% and 24% respectively over the 2018 rates. This increase suggests that the legalization of marijuana for any reason has severely impacted the workplace.
On a favorable note reflecting the strong national effort to reduce overdoses and related deaths, the positivity rates for opiates (primarily codeine and morphine) has declined significantly by 49% over the past five years. Opioids such as hydrocodone/ hydromorphone positivity rates declined more than 45% over 5 years, while oxycodone/oxymorphone positivity dropped almost 55% in the past 5 years.
In a combined analysis of U.S. workforce drug testing between 2015 and 2019, increases in positivity rates were observed in 15 of 19 industry sectors. The Retail Trade group had the highest positivity rate increase (4.7% in 2015 and 5.5% in 2019). The Accommodations and Food Service industry had the highest level of positivity for marijuana with a 65% increase over the 5-year period (2.9% in 2015 and 4.8% in 2019, respectively).