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Drugs with Highest Rates of Positivity in the Workforce

In mandated tests of employees in safety-sensitive jobs, marijuana had the highest rate of drug positivity, followed by opioids and amphetamines, according to the 2020 Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ report. The report includes data from over 2.4 million tests from January to December 2019 of workers in safety-sensitive positions undergoing federally mandated drug tests. These include workers in the airline, transportation, and marine industries, among others.

Positivity rates for marijuana have seen a steady climb the past five years, from 0.71% of all tests in this category in 2015 to 0.88% in 2019, meaning that in the past year approximately 1 out of 113 workers in safety-sensitive positions had evidence of recent marijuana use in their urine. Similarly, amphetamines were detected in 0.68% of all tests, up from 0.58% in 2015, meaning that approximately 1 out of 147 workers had evidence of recent amphetamine use.

Three classes of tested opioids (codeine/morphine, hydrocodone/hydromorphone, and oxycodone/oxymorphone) in aggregate were detected in 0.73% of tests, meaning that approximately 1 out of 137 workers had evidence of recent use of an opioid. The percent of positive tests for heroin has dropped in recent years, from 0.02% in 2015 to 0.011% in 2019. A similarly low rate was found for PCP, and an even lower rate for MDMA (Ecstasy). Cocaine was found in 0.25% of samples (1 out of 400 workers).

The full Drug Testing Index report can be found here: