The Number of Positive Drug Tests is Increasing: Are You Drug Testing?

A recent study has revealed what HR managers, small business owners, and CEOs feared: the number of positive drug tests is rising for the first time in 10 years.

What’s the cause of this increase, and what does it mean for your workplace drug testing program? ARCpoint Labs is sharing the details.


Positive Drug Tests Up For First Time in 10 Years

The Findings

The study covered 8.5 million drug test results from 2013, including urine, hair, and oral fluid tests conducted in private companies (the general US workforce), companies covered under federal drug testing mandates (DOT testing), and a combination of the two to represent the combined US workforce.

Analysis showed a 3.7% positivity rate among the 7.6 million urine drug tests from the combined workforce, increasing for the first time since 2003. Positive marijuana rates increased by 6.2% in the combined workforce, 5.6% in the industries covered by federally-mandated testing, and 5% in the general US workforce.

The Reasons

Positive marijuana home drug test detecting THC.
Positive marijuana home drug test detecting THC.

The overall rise in positive drug tests is attributed to rising rates of marijuana and amphetamine positives. Washington and Colorado — two states who have legalized marijuana — saw the biggest shifts in marijuana positivity, up 23% and 20% respectively from 2012 to 2013.

Oral fluid marijuana drug tests had a more steep increase, up to 5.1% in 2013 from 4% in 2012. The higher positivity rate may have to do with more widespread marijuana use, or could be explained by the difficulty of cheating oral fluid drug tests due to the observed collection.

Positive rates for amphetamine drug tests have increased dramatically as well — currently, they’re at a record high for all collection types. Urine tests among the general workforce are up 27%, for oral fluid tests are up 50%, and for hair tests are up 55%.

The Implications

The rising positive rates for drug tests confirm that drug testing is a real need for every business, regardless if you are federally-mandated to maintain a drug-free workplace or not.

We recommend not only pre-hiring screenings to prevent drug users from joining the workforce, but also random drug tests to identify current users or catch drug users who were hired before you initiated pre-screenings.

Furthermore, it’s imperative that your drug testing program includes oral fluid drug tests for marijuana use and amphetamine use, since these are the two biggest culprits for the rising drug test positivity. Although recreational marijuana is decriminalized or legalized in some states, federally marijuana is still an illegal Schedule I drug that can’t even be prescribed by a doctor. This means that employers still have the right to prohibit employees from using recreational marijuana and discipline those who don’t comply.

Your Workplace Needs Drug Tests

And ARCpoint Labs can provide them.

Our nationwide labs are seasoned in AABB-drug testing processes, including DOT testing, on-site testing, and oral fluid testing. We use observed collection practices and test all specimens for adulteration before completing our drug tests.

To learn more about how ARCpoint Labs can help with your workplace drug testing program,locate your nearest ARCpoint Labs today!

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