Workplace Amphetamine Use Jumps; Overall Drug Use Falls

June 23, 2003 ( - The number of people showing positive for amphetamines in a workplace drug test skyrocketed by 70% over the last five years, according to an employer drug testing service. At the same time, overall workplace drug use is falling.

Drug test provider Quest Diagnostics said the number of workplace drug tests coming back positive for amphetamines jumped to 0.34% of all workplace tests conducted in 2002 looking for amphetamine use, up from 0.20% in 1997, according to a report from the Commerce Clearing House.

In its annual Drug Testing Index report, Quest summarized data of more than 7 million workplace drug tests it had performed broken down into three worker categories:

  • federally mandated, safety-sensitive workers (including pilots, bus and truck drivers and nuclear power plant workers, for whom routine drug testing is mandated by the US Department of Transportation and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission)
  • general workforce
  • combined US workforce.

According to Quest, among federally mandated, safety-sensitive workers, the incidence of amphetamine positive results in 2002 was 0.28% of all drug tests looking for that drug; during the same period five years ago the rate was 0.25%.

While amphetamine positive tests are increasing, Quest said overall, workplace drug use declined in 2002 to the lowest level since 1988. The overall drop was a continuation of steadily declining positive tests among federally mandated, safety-sensitive workers since 1998. The rate of positive drug tests for the combined US workforce, which is the number of positive test results compared to the total number of drug tests performed, declined to 4.4% between January and December 2002.

In 2002 the positive drug test rate for federally mandated, safety-sensitive workers was 2.5% while the drug positivity rate for the general US workforce remained steady at 4.8%.

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