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Drug Users Are Working

06 Mar 2015

            ... Drug Users Are Migrating to Employers who don’t Conduct Drug Testing

2013 - National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings 

As reported in the 2013 NSDUH survey, there were an estimated 24.6 million (9.4 percent) Americans aged 12 or older who were current (past month) illicit drugs users. This rate is similar to 2010 and 2012 (8.9 percent and 9.2 percent, respectively) but is higher than 2002 through 2009 and 2011 (range: 7.9 percent to 8.7 percent). Of interest to employers is that current illicit drug use among those respondents not subject to workplace drug tests held relatively steady between 2002 and 2009 (range: 10.3 percent to 10.8 percent) but has increased since then, reaching 12.5 percent in 2012. In contrast, among those subject to employer drug testing, current illicit drug use between 2002 and 2011 ranged between 6.9 percent and 7.4 percent and reached 8.0 percent in 2012.

As reported recently by Barry Sample, PhD, Director of Science and Technology for the Employer Solutions business unit of Quest Diagnostics; the Quest Drug Testing Index data showed a 5.7 percent increase in positivity rates (3.7 percent vs. 3.5 percent in 2012). While this is a modest increase, it is the first time urine drug test positivity rates in the combined, U.S. general workforce (GW), and federally-mandated, safety sensitive (FMSS) workforce have increased since 2003 (except for the increase in 2011 among the FMSS group related to cutoff changes effective October, 2010). Also, positivity rates in 2013 were at the highest levels across all three groups since 2007.

Are you drug testing part time employees? 13.7 percent of those employed part time are current illicit drug users.

2013 Statistics

  • 24.6 million Americans aged 12 or older who were current (past month) illicit drugs users
  • 9.4 % of the population - current drug users
  • Marijuana was the most commonly used illicit drug, with 19.8 million current users – 7.5% of the population
  • 6.5 million nonmedical users of prescription-type drugs
  • 9.1 percent of those employed full time - current illicit drug users
  • 13.7 percent of those employed part time -  current illicit drug users
  • 68.9 percent of current illicit drug users were employed either full or part time.

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