An increase still exists in the workforce positivity rate
A recent study carried out by The Quest discovered that the use of illegal drugs at all levels of the workforce, such as marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamine is at its highest rate over the last 10 years.
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The entire rate of positivity in urine drug testing in 2017 for the entire US workforce is maintained at 4.2%, which has an increased rate of 0.7% than 2012’s rate of positivity which is a representation of the 30-year reduction. These discoveries were developed from the evaluation of the drug test results of above 10 million workforces.
Quest Diagnostics’ senior director of science and technology, Barry Sample stated that it was regrettable that 30 years of the Drug-Free Workplace Act with an evident proof that drug has become an integral part of the workplace and not just that, declines seemed to have faded out, but there is an increase in the rate of positivity in a few parts of the country. He continued that the modifying trends and geographical differences can pose a challenge to an employer’s ability to predict the drug of choice meant to serve their workforce or the best position where their drug prevention campaign can be concentrated on to facilitate a secure and healthy workplace.
Indicated in the new data are the recent trends in drug usage, with an increase in the positivity rate of cocaine and amphetamine in some parts of the country and a sharp increase in the positivity of marijuana in other states of the country.
Fortunately, the positivity rates of prescription opiates have reduced tremendously throughout the country. Quest indicated that the rate of positivity for opiates in the entire US workforce when carrying our urine test has reduced between 2016 and 2017 from 17% (0.47% against 0.39%). Significantly, oxycodone (oxymorphone or oxycodone) had a 12 % reduction between 2016 and 2017 (0.69% against 0.61%), hydrocodone has a 17% reduction (0.87% against 0.67%), and a 22% reduction for hydromorphone (0.59% against 0.46%). Opiates experienced their lowest rates of positivity in over a decade.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) presented a supporting data which revealed that the entire rate of prescription of opioids in 2017 tremendously declined in over a decade even though these rates are not the same throughout the states and other parts of the nation.
This topic was reviewed when an education session took place at RIMS in 2018. It is indicated that the recent reduction in the use of opioids was as a result of corporate initiatives such as prescription drug monitoring policies (PDMP) aimed at reducing the capacity of employees to refill scripts as well as states implementing extensive reforms.
The CEO and President of the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI), John Ruser stated in San Antonio last month that the higher the number of queries indicated the higher the reduction of prescribing opioids. He stated that Kentucky was utilized by WCRI for an instance of a successful PDMP. The HBI law in Kentucky expects using PDMP, and between 2011 and 2013, the information from WCRI stated that there was a 10% reduction in the state’s rate of prescription but other areas without these reforms experienced a flat prescription rate.
However, the positivity rate of methamphetamine is on the rise. Evaluation of patterns in the entire US workforce dependent on the four regions in the US discovered a significant rise in the positivity rate of methamphetamine. The positivity rate of methamphetamine between 2013 and 2017 had a 167% increase in the East Northcentral region in the Midwest (Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana). A 160% increase in the East south-central region of the south (Kentucky, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi), a 150% rise in the Middle Atlantic region of the Northeast (New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania). And a 140% increase in the south Atlantic region of the south (District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Maryland, Georgia, South, and North Carolina and West Virginia). The percentage rise experienced in these four regions between 2016 and 2017 moved from 9% to 25%.
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The entire positivity rate of marijuana continues to experience a four-year increase for both the security conscious and federally mandated workforce and the entire US workforce. The positivity rate for marijuana experienced a 4% increase throughout the US workforce (from 2.5% in 2016 against 2.6% in 2017) which was almost about 8% of the entire security-conscious workforce (0.78% against 0.84%)
The rise in the rate of positivity for marijuana had the most significance in states in the US where recreational has been legalized since 2016. Some of these states are California (11%), Nevada (43%) and Massachusetts (14%). These states also experienced a major rise in the positivity rate of marijuana for federally mandated, security-conscious workforce; California (20%), Nevada (39%) and Massachusetts (11%). The Federally mandated, security-conscious workforce includes rail, bus, pilot and truck drivers as well as workers in nuclear power plants where regular drug testing routine is usually expected by the Department of Transportation.
Sample stated that the rise was the same as the increase experienced after the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado and Washington. And although it is too early to indicate if this is a pattern, the data they generated has reported that the use of recreational marijuana has moved into the workforce which can be found among those that are tasked at ensuring the safety of the communities.
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