Apr 20, 2022 - News

Positive drug tests see highest rates in two decades

A urine sample at a lab
Photo: Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The rate of American workers testing positive for cocaine and marijuana is at its highest point since 2001, according to an analysis from Quest Diagnostics.

Why it matters: Companies across the country are facing recruiting and retention challenges, resulting in more employers dropping drug-test requirements.

  • Eliminating drug tests can also lead to more equitable workplaces, according to the ACLU.

What they did: The Quest study is based on more than 11 million de-identified urine, hair and oral fluid drug test results collected between January and December 2021.

Details: Occupations required to test by federal mandate — including pilots and train conductors — had a lower overall positivity rate (2.2%).

  • Nationwide, pre-employment tests resulted in a lower rate of positive tests (5.4%) than post-accident tests (9.7%).

Zoom in: Texas has a lower percentage of positive tests (3.9%) than the national average (4.6%), according to Quest.

Yes, but: The rate of positive tests from opiates and opioids in Texas is nearly double the U.S. average, despite a downward trend nationwide.

The intrigue: The overall rate of positive drug tests in Texas is much higher in rural parts of the state.

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