Increases in Illicit Drugs, Including Cocaine, Drive Workforce Drug Positivity to Highest Rate in 12 Years

According to Quest Diagnostics,

“Drug use in the American workforce, fueled by illicit drugs, reached the highest positivity rate in 12 years.”

Findings came from the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index that reviews over 10 million workforce drug test results.

In concerns to their findings, Barry Sample, PhD, senior director, science and technology, Quest Diagnostics Employer Solutions states that:

“this year’s findings are remarkable because they show increased rates of drug positivity for the most common illicit drugs across virtually all drug test specimen types and in all testing populations.”

Among substances of abuse, current trends are as follows:

  • Cocaine positivity rose for the fourth consecutive year
  • Marijuana positivity increased dramatically over the last three years; especially in Colorado and Washington
  • Methamphetamine positivity has continued a steady increase year over year for the past five years
  • Heroin positivity has remained the same as previous years while prescription opiate positivity has surprisingly shown a decline

Dr. Sample’s advice to employers:

“Our analysis suggests that employers committed to creating a safe, drug-free work environment should be alert to the potential for drug use among their workforce.”

For more detail on the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index and this year’s findings, please visit

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