Drug Positivity in the Workforce Is Rising… Are You Prepared to Adapt?

The following is a reprint of an article published in the May/June 2019 issue of the Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce bi-monthly magazine – Chamber Chatter.

Recently Quest Diagnostics, the world’s leading provider of diagnostic information services, released the results of their most-recent study of workforce drug positivity1 and, based on their analysis of more than ten million workplace drug test results, their findings show:

  • The rate of workforce drug positivity hit a fourteen-year high in 2018, and
  • Increases in marijuana positivity across nearly all employee testing categories (8% for general U.S. and 5% for federally-mandated workforces), and
  • Increases in post-accident positivity in the general U.S. workforce outpace those for all other testing reasons, including pre-employment screening.

The report indicates that marijuana positivity rates in the Greater West Chester area is higher than national averages.

Obviously, with the Commonwealth’s legalization of marijuana for medical use, not all of this is due to the illegal use of marijuana (according to Federal Law marijuana is still a Schedule 1 drug).  Regardless of whether the use is for medicinal or illicit purposes, the challenge for employers is to understand the potential impact of marijuana in the workplace and to develop policies and protocols that protect the workforce and the business while adhering to legal guidelines and best practices.

Employers have the right to establish rules and repercussions for substance use (or abuse) within the workplace.  The degree of productivity loss can vary depending on the type of workplace and can be hard to quantify.  In some environments, where there is exposure to machinery or hot surfaces/liquids, lost productivity pales in comparison to potential workplace injuries.  And in situations where employees are directly interfacing with customers or driving company vehicles, the impact of functional impairment goes beyond productivity.

Now more than ever, for the good of your business and customers, know and protect your workforce!

1 Quest Diagnostics, Secaucus, NJ, April 11, 2019

Benjamin Ventresca is Managing Partner of Brandywine Consulting and a member of the GWCCC Ambassador Committee.  Brandywine offers BCGSmartCheck which is a suite of HR services including Policy Development, Aptitude and Integrity Assessment, Background Screening, Substance Testing, and Occupational Health Services Management.

For more information about, or solutions for, BCGSmartCheck and Smart Hiring Practices,  contact Ben Ventresca at 610.696.1905.