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New Study Finds Significant Increase in Positive Drug Test Results

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Quest Diagnostics recently released an analysis of positive drug test results that occurred in the workplace between January to December 2021. The study was based on several million urine, hair and oral fluid drug test results collected by the company.

According to the study, positivity for marijuana climbed significantly increasing over 50% between 2017 to 2021 (2.6% in 2017 versus 3.9% in 2021). This should come as no surprise given the massive shift in attitudes towards marijuana in society along with the continued passage of legislative legalizing marijuana and protecting individuals against adverse employment consequences. 

Positivity rates for cocaine and methamphetamine also increased in 2021 (representing a continued increase over the past five years). This increase was also seen in the safety-sensitive workplace with marijuana leading the way. Positivity for heroin in the “general U.S. workforce” has decreased over the past five years.

As the drug testing landscape continues to evolve, this study highlights the prevalence of drug use. As always, employers should examine their drug testing and workplace policies with legal counsel.

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