OOPS … MARIJUANA IS SHOWING UP IN YOUR URINE SAMPLE
Workers testing positive for drugs hit a 14-year high in 2018, according to a report released this week by Quest Diagnostics.
The Quest analysis is based on the more than 10 million U.S. drug tests done by the company in 2018. Key points from the analysis include:
- An increase in marijuana-positive tests across nearly all employee categories, including the federally mandated security workforce. This includes commercial vehicle drivers and some workers at the Department of Defense and Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
- More urine specimens are coming back invalid, indicating an increase in cheating attempts. “Findings show an increased percentage of urine specimens in both the federally mandated, safety-sensitive and general U.S. workforces reported as invalid due to inconsistency with normal human urine, suggesting attempts at specimen adulteration or substitution. ” Between 2017 and 2018, the percentage of invalid results in the federally mandated, safety-sensitive workforce jumped 80 percent (0.15% versus 0.27%), and 40 percent in the general U.S. workforce (0.15% versus 0.21%).
- The positivity rates for hair sample drug tests was significantly higher for the general U.S. workforce than for urine tests. For 160,000 drug tests using hair samples, the positivity rate was 10.9 percent in 2018, up from 10.3 percent in 2017.
- Marijuana continues to top the list of drugs most commonly detected across all workforce categories and across all types of specimens (urine, oral fluid, hair).
- The rate of marijuana-positive samples increased nearly 8 percent, and nearly 17 percent since 2014.
- In the federally mandated, safety-sensitive workforce, marijuana-positive samples increased nearly five percent from 2017 to 2018, and nearly 24 percent since 2014.
- In the general workforce, the positivity rate for opiates declined across all opiate categories.
- Among the general workforce screening for opiates (mostly codeine and morphine), positivity declined nearly 21 percent between 2017 and 2018 (0.39% versus 0.31%), the largest drop in three years and nearly 37 percent decrease since the peak in 2015 (0.49%).
- Among the more specific tests for other prescription opiates, the positivity for the semi-synthetic opiates (hydrocodone and/or hydromorphone) declined two percent between 2017 and 2018 (0.51% vs. 0.50%) and 43 percent since the five-year high in 2014 (0.88%).
- The positivity for oxycodones (oxycodone and/or oxymorphone) declined more than 29 percent between 2017 and 2018 (0.61% vs. 0.43%) and more than 46 percent since the five-year high in 2014 (0.80%).
“Our in-depth analysis shows that marijuana is not only present in our workforce, but use continues to increase,” Barry Sample, PhD, senior director of science and technology for Quest, said in a statement. “As marijuana policy changes, and employers consider strategies to protect their employees, customers and general public, employers should weigh the risks that drug use, including marijuana, poses to their business.”