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December 10, 2010

HR Fact Friday: Good and Bad News of Employee Drug Tests

The Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR) at the University of Maryland, College Park reports in its weekly CESAR FAX that the percentage of positive employee drug tests containing marijuana and cocaine has decreased, while positive tests for sedatives, amphetamines, and opiates has increased.

In 2009, Quest Diagnostics conducted drug tests on more than 5.5. million urine samples collected from workers across the nation.

According to the most recent drug testing index, 3.6% of all tests conducted in 2009 were positive for at least one illicit drug. Marijuana continues to be the drug most frequently detected.

However, the percentage of positives for marijuana has decreased significantly over the past 10 years, from 62.2% of all drug positives in 1999 to 43.7% in 2009. The percentage of cocaine positives also decreased in the last decade, from 16.2% to 7.3% of all drug positives.

In contrast, the percentage of positives for sedatives nearly doubled (from 6.5% to 11.2%), while those for amphetamines and opiates nearly tripled (from 4.5% to 13.1% and 7.5% to 20.1%, respectively).

The press release with specific information is available from CESAR.

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