According to data released at the Substance Abuse Program Administrators Association (SAPAA) conference last month, drug use among U.S. workers rose to 4.0 percent—the highest it’s been since 2005.
The data, pulled from the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index (DTI), shows an increase in positive drug test rates across all types of tests and for all drugs tested. Even though health officials have drawn attention to the rise in opioid use in recent years, these numbers suggest a general, multi-year trend of increased drug use. In fact, the increase in 2015 is the third year-on-year rise in as many years, having steadily climbed from its 25-year low of 3.5 percent in 2012.
Especially worrisome for officials are the post-accident positivity rates. That number was 6.9 percent in 2015, as opposed to 6.5 percent in 2014. Overall, it represents a 30 percent increase since 2011, when only 5.3 percent of those involved in a workplace accident tested positive for drug use.
Employee drug use poses serious safety concerns for employers and their employees. Experts suggest that curbing employee drug use requires a number of actions on the part of the employer. In addition to testing, employers should consider educational efforts to warn of the risks of drug use and to teach employees how to recognize and respond to warning signs. Additionally, offering drug treatment options may encourage employees who are affected by drug addiction to get the help they need. For more resources on workplace drug abuse, contact Warren G. Bender Co. today.