December 19, 2018

Quest: These industries have the most frequent positive drug tests

Photo | Flickr via XoMEoX
Photo | Flickr via XoMEoX
The highest rate of overall positive urine screenings in 2017 were in the retail industry.

Tapping its massive sample of over 10 million employee drug tests across the country, Quest Diagnostics said it's identified the industries in which the most workers test positive for drugs.

The highest rate of overall positive urine screenings in 2017 were in retail trade -- 5.3 percent, up from 4.7 percent in 2015 -- as well as health care and social assistance (4.7 percent), and real estate rental and leasing (4.6 percent).

The lowest 2017 rates were observed in the utilities (2.8 percent) and finance and insurance (2.6 percent) industries, Quest said.

Marijuana was the most commonly detected substance in a majority of industry sectors, with accomodation and food services outpacing the national average (3.5 percent vs. 2.6 percent, respectively).

Meanwhile, most sectors saw a higher rate of positive tests for cocaine in 2017, compared to 2015. The largest increase was in retail trade.

Transportation and warehousing saw the largest increase in overall positive drug tests between 2015 and 2017, climbing 33 percent, due mainly to higher cocaine and marijuana use rates.

Overall, the rate of positive drug tests in the country stood at 4.2 percent, flat from the year prior but up from 3.6 percent a decade ago.

Quest's industry-based analysis is the first of its kind for the drug-testing giant.

The data released this week don't offer any specific Connecticut industry insights.

However, the company tracks and publishes drug test data by state and even zip code in its annual Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index.

The latest index, for 2017, was released in May. Connecticut's overall positive rate was 4.5 percent, compared to the 4.2 percent national average. While the rate bounces around year to year -- and it's unclear from Quest's data how many tests from individual states are included in its sample -- Connecticut's overall positive screen rate was lower a decade ago, at 3.8 percent. It's been above 4 percent since then.

Meanwhile, positive drug screens for amphetamines have been rising in Connecticut, reaching 1.4 percent last year. That's above the U.S. average of 1.1 percent, which has also been climbing.

Connecticut's marijuana rate was about average in 2017, at 1.9 percent. Also about average was its cocaine rate (0.27 percent).

Positive screenings for opiates have fallen over the past decade here, and are about half the national average, which has been rising. Positive tests for heroin have also been falling over the past five years, though they were higher than the U.S. average last year (0.055 percent vs. 0.028 percent, respectively).

An interactive map of the drug test data is available on Quest's website.

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