18 May 2017| By: Kevin Trieu
Quest Diagnostics, a lab testing company, released an annual analysis of 10 million drug testing results nationwide. 4.2% of those tests came back positive for substance use, with Illinois following the national average. Across Illinois, different regions show different substance use interest. In Chicago’s South Suburbs, it’s cocaine. In Southern Illinois, it is Opiates. Please do note, however, that the rates of substance use is far lower than it was when Quest first started publicizing workforce testing in 1988, which sat at a whopping 14% positive rate. From 1988 to 2012, that rate has steadily declined. Since 2012 the rate of positives has been slowly climbing. People who tested positive for Marijuana, has also been rising steadily.
While historically, we are nowhere near where we were in 1988, this rise since 2012 in workforce positive drug tests is certainly alarming. We know that substance use impairs basic functions of the human body, and any amount of substance use, can greatly reduce the effectiveness of any workforce. Take for example a more basic substance, like cigarettes, in a work environment that might not be as physically demanding, like the office. While seemingly harmless, many employers see lost wages from the constant need of smokers to go out to quench their addiction. And the same could be said for marijuana, cocaine, and opioid use with varying degrees, of course. Hopefully this number will slow down, but this is most definitely a report to keep your eyes on.
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