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Legalization Sends Workplace Pot Usage Soaring in U.S.

April 16, 2019 (EIRNS)—That’s the shocking, but not surprising finding released last week by Quest Diagnostics, the largest provider of diagnostic services in the United States.

Quest Science and Technology Senior Director Barry Sample released the results of a review of the 10 million workforce drug tests they performed in 2018, at the Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association annual conference on April 11. Quest’s data revealed that positive on-the-job drug results overall were 10% more than in 2017, reaching the highest level in 14 years in the U.S., Smart Approaches to Marijuana President Dr. Kevin Sabet reported. The rate of increase was highest in states where marijuana has been legalized: Oregon’s rate of positive workforce results was 63% higher than the year prior, Nevada’s rate was up by 55%, and Colorado’s by 47%.

If you believe that the percentage of positive tests (as opposed to the rate of increase) is still relatively low—the national average was 2.3% of the workforce tested positive in Quest’s large sample—consider the implications for your safety. Quest’s analysis of post-accident urine testing in the general U.S. workforce found a year-over-year increase of 9% between 2017 and 2018 (increasing from 7.7% of all post-accident tests being positive in 2017 to 8.4% in 2018). The increase over five years was 29%.

Post-accident positive test rates in the federally-mandated, “safety-sensitive” workforce—airplane pilots, nuclear power plant employees, etc.—rose from 3.1% in 2017 to 4.7% in 2018, an increase of more than 51% year-over-year, and an increase of almost 81% over 2014.

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