Reducing drug abuse in the workplace has and continues to be a top priority of PDFNJ’s Drug’s Don’t Work in New Jersey program. Current research has increased the need for focus on this issue. Recently, researchers are noticing a reversal of a longtime decline of drug use in the workplace. It has been noted that the percentage of American Workers that are testing positive for illicit drug use has increased sharply.

Robert DuPont, MD, former Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) said "The increases in illicit drug positivity in employment drug testing should get employers and policymakers to take notice of the serious risks these drugs create for productivity, health and safety.”

Dr. Barry Sample, director of science and technology for Quest Diagnostics Employer Solutions said “In the past, we have noted increases in prescription-drug-positivity rates, but now, it seems, illicit drug use may be on the rise, according to our data.” This upward trend has put an end to a longtime decline of illicit drug use at workplace.

According to an article “Workers’ Drug Use Appears to Rise” by The Wall Street Journal, traces of drugs such as Marijuana, methamphetamine and prescription opiates were found in 3.9% of 9.1 million urine tests conducted in 2014. This shows an increase from the 3.7% that was recorded in 2013.

The Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index analysis showed a steady upward trend of positivity rates in cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine and heroin rates. Marijuana positivity in the general U.S. workforce increased 14.3 percent. The positivity rate for cocaine in urine tests increased by 9.1 percent between 2013 and 2014. Marijuana remains the most commonly detected illicit drug though the Drug Testing Index (DTI) while cocaine and methamphetamine continues to show positivity for two consecutive years.

According to the Wall Street Journal, experts and researchers are unsure why drug usage is rising, though the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana may explain some of these findings. It is imperative that we abstain from these illicit drugs to set a good example for others, especially the youth.

Additional information on this topic will be included as part of the agenda at the DDW Annual Members Meeting on July 15, 2015, be part of the conversation by attending the event. 

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