Drug Positivity Rates Increase Across All Major Industries

Pre-Employment Drug Testing Has Never Been More Necessary

Drug testing in the workplace is a hot-button issue. With all that is happening, labor shortage, shipping delays, & inflation, many companies aren’t sure if drug testing is accessible anymore. Hiring candidates’ same day has never been more essential. Unfortunately, many companies are focused on the immediate gratification of hiring that they aren’t concerned about the long-term effects of hiring candidates who are regular drug users.

A new report from Quest Diagnostics showed that 16 out of 17 industries saw overall positivity rates increase from 2017 to 2021. With all 17 witnessing an increase in marijuana positivity from 2020 to 2021. Quest Diagnostics acquired this data from 9 million urine drug tests collected between January and December 2021.

4.6% of the urine tests collected returned positive among the 9 million tested, which is the highest drug positivity ever seen in the US, up 30% from 2001. Over the last five years, pre-employment saw a positivity increase of 17.4% (4.6% in 2017 versus 5.4% in 2021); while post-accident positivity increased 26% (7.7% in 2017 versus 9.7% in 2021).


The industry seeing the most impact was the Retail Trade industry, with the highest overall positivity rate in 2021 at 7%. That is an increase of 34.6% from 2017. This sector also experienced the only year-over-year rise in methamphetamine positivity from 2017 to 2021 of 55.6% (0.09% in 2017 to 0.14% in 2021).

Marijuana positivity has had the most effect across industries, increasing the overall positive across all 17 sectors. Transportation & Warehousing, Accommodations & Food Services, and the Retail Trade saw positivity for marijuana more than double within the last five years. With all 17 industries, Quest examined seeing marijuana positivity increase from 2020 to 2021.

Premier Biotech offers valuable solutions to your pre-employment testing needs. OralTox our rapid oral fluid testing solution allows you to hire candidates the same day by receiving test results in just minutes. Even though Quest Diagnostic Index Analysis was focused on urine testing they are supporters of rapid oral fluid. Oral fluid tests generally have a shorter window of drug detection than urine, and can detect some drugs faster, in a matter of minutes versus hours. Oral fluid collection also has the advantage of being observed, making it harder to subvert the testing process.”

As Quest Diagnostic Index Analysis has shown, people continue to use illicit drugs at an increasing rate. Drug use in the workplace can lead to theft, poor work quality, absenteeism, and increased workplace accidents. Pre-employment drug testing is essential to creating a safe work environment.

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