Workers Are Failing Drug Tests At Highest Levels In A Decade

All kinds of drug groups saw a rise in use, including cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamines.

By Jaime Lutz

Workplace drug tests have been coming back positive at the highest level since 2004, according to Quest Diagnostics, a clinical testing company.

Last year, 4.2 percent of drug tests that employees took came back positive—the highest rate since 2004. In 2012, only 3.5 percent of employee drug tests came back positive.

It isn’t just one type of drug driving the trend, either—all illegal drugs have shown increases, said Bary Sample, Quest’s senior director of science and technology, to CBS News.

"Illicit drugs -- cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamines -- are broadly up among all of the testing groups," Sample said. "This is the first time we have seen such a broad increase."

For employees who are required to take drug tests, such as pilots, some federal employees, and bus drivers, the rate of failed drug tests was 2 percent. For everyone else, the rate was 4.9 percent.

And at jobs where no drug testing occurs, studies have found that self-reported drug use rates are 40 to 60 percent higher, Sample said.

The drug test data might be indicative of loosening marijuana laws, as well as a growing opioid epidemic. But the positivity rate is, at least, not nearly as high as it was in 1988, when Quest first began publishing this report. Then 13.6 of their drug tests came back positive.

[Image: Getty]

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