Quest Diagnostics Employer Solutions

Issue 57 - April 2008
Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index® Results Drug Testing Works!  
 A 22% decline in drug positivity for methamphetamine and an unprecedented 19% decline in cocaine positive drug test results among the general U.S. workforce were the main findings of the annual Drug Testing Index® released recently by Quest Diagnostics. The 2007 Drug Testing Index summarizes the results of the more than 8.4 million workplace urine drug tests performed by Quest Diagnostics between January and December 2007. Overall, the testing data indicated that drug use by employees and applicants subject to drug testing
was similar to 2006, and still is among the lowest levels seen since
Quest Diagnostics began publishing the Drug Testing Index in 1988. Of
all the urine drug tests performed by Quest Diagnostics during 2007 for
the combined U.S. workforce, 3.8 percent had positive results.

"We believe this continued decline in workforce drug positivity is driven by two factors: (1) increased employer vigilance about the impact of workplace drug abuse on liability and the cost of decreased productivity, and (2) the possibility that those who abuse drugs may tend to avoid employment at companies that actively conduct drug testing," said
Barry Sample, Ph.D., Director of Science and Technology for
Quest Diagnostics Employer Solutions division.

The Drug Testing Index paints a data-driven picture of how increased drug testing has a direct connection to lower positivity rates. The data shows that positivity rates are the lowest in the most heavily tested sectors like federally mandated safety-sensitive positions. Contrary to conventional thinking, more testing actually uncovers less drug use. As Dr. Sample suggests, the inference is that drug-using employees do not want to work for companies that will catch them.

Another finding is that positivity rates for random testing are about 50% higher than that of pre-employment screening rates in the non-Federal workforce. Therefore, if more employers conducted random testing, they might uncover more drug users within their organizations.

There are also benefits associated with different testing modalities. While the Drug Testing Index summarizes the results from urine tests only, the incidence of drug positives from hair and oral-fluid tests helps reinforce the economic benefits of utilizing these alternative specimen types. The detection window for hair testing, for example, presents the opportunity to approximately double the number of positive drug tests as compared with urine tests.

For more information on how drug testing can help to create a safer, more cost-effective workforce, visit or
call 800-877-7484.

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