Positive Workplace Drug Tests Up For First Time In Decade


For the first time in more than a decade, the percentage of positive urine drug tests in the workplace is up, reports Law.com. The Quest Diagnostic Testing Index, which reports results of millions of employee drug tests, says positives have increased 5.7 percent from 2012. This is the first time there has been an uptick since 2003. Legalization of marijuana for medical and recreational use in some states may be one cause; the percentage of workers testing positive for marijuana in urine tests jumped 6.2 percent last year. In Colorado and Washington, where pot is now legal for recreational purposes, positivity rates increased 20 and 23 percent, respectively.

“The most common drug by a long shot is still marijuana and changing attitudes toward the legalization of marijuana are affecting usage,” says lawyer Howard Mavity of Fisher & Phillips. “But there's also a very substantial pick up of amphetamine, both methamphetamines and misused prescription drugs.” The detection of amphetamines in urine tests rose 10 percent in 2013 from 2012, part of a multiyear climb. Positivity rates for these drugs are at their highest rates since 2007. Employers with good evidence an employee is using unlawful drugs at work are within their rights to order a drug test.

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