As more and more US workers are testing positive for illegal drugs, this can lead to more accidents in the workplace. The number of American staff who tested positive for illicit drugs has reached the peak of the decade. The figures are confirmed by Quest Diagnostics, one of the biggest medical laboratories in the United States.
Illicit drug use, from marijuana to methamphetamine, increased for the general workforce, as well as the ‘safety sensitive’ workforce. The latter includes truck drivers, subway engineers, pilots, ship captains and generally transport workers. Employers test their workforce individually, and in the case of an accident.
In total, 4 percent of staff drug tests were positive last year. With safety sensitive workers, the figure rose from 1.7 percent to 1.8 percent. Within the general workforce, tests showed that 4.8 percent had used illegal drugs.
Some of the results can be contested if a worker has a prescription for a legal drug. But in most cases, there is an increased trend of using cocaine, heroin, and amphetamines, which are illegal drugs.
2015 was the third consecutive year when drug use has risen, after previous decades of decline.
The data comes from over 9.5 million urine tests, gathered by the Department of Health and Human Services. It watches over American drug use every year. In 2014, the agency came to a shocking conclusion. 10 percent of the Americans over 12 years old had used an illicit substance in the last month. That’s the highest figure since 2002, at least.
The Quest company has the figures since 1988 when 13.6 percent of the drug tests were positive. During that period, Ronald Reagan came forth with the Drug-Free Workplace Act. It made drug checks for safety-sensitive workers mandatory. Testing became a workplace practice, during the pre-employment screening.
The positive tests number declined to 3.5 percent in 2010 and remained low until 2012 when it started to rise. Following the legalizing of marijuana in 20 states, it made it “America’s favorite drug.” – according to Barry Sample, director of the science and technology department at Quest.
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