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It will probably come as no surprise to urgent care providers who offer occupational medicine services, but the percentage of U.S. workers who’ve tested positive for drugs has increased steadily over the past 3 years—to the point that they’re now at a 10-year peak. The Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index, which analyzes millions of urine samples, oral fluid samples, and hair samples annually, shows 5 consecutive years of increased positive tests for amphetamine and heroin, as well as a 47% increase in positive screens for marijuana since 2013. The 2015 positivity rate reflects a relative increase of 14% over the 10-year low of 3.5% in both 2010 and 2011. Another notable trend is the rising positivity rate for postaccident urine drug testing in both the general U.S. and federally mandated, safety-sensitive workforces. Postaccident positives increased 6.2% in 2015 over 2014. Overall, postaccident positivity for the safety-sensitive workforce has risen 22% over the past 5 years. It’s interesting to note that these data arrive on the heels of decades of declining drug use (owing in part to aggressive antidrug messaging across the country), but during an upswing in states legalizing marijuana for medicinal and, in a few states, recreational use.

Positive Drugs Tests Have Soared Among Workers in the Past Decade