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Positive pre-employment drug screenings increased in 2012

Posted on March 18th, 2013 Read time: 1 minutes

Many businesses invest in pre-employment screening procedures provided by HR outsourcing services to ensure new hires meet company policies and culture requirements.

The rate of job candidates who tested positive for illicit drug use increased by 5.7 percent during the fist six months of 2012, compared to the same time span in 2011, according to Quest Diagnostics, a data analytics provider that studied more than 3.4 million urine and 340,000 oral fluid samples.

"The uptick in U.S. general workforce pre-employment data suggests that employers should be mindful of illicit drug use among prospective employees," said Dr. Barry Sample, director of science and technology for Quest Diagnostics Employer Solutions. "These findings align with recent news reports citing some employers facing increasing drug positives when recruiting new workers."

While the positivity rate for pre-employment urine tests was up, the positivity rate for random urine testing dropped 5.8 percent.

In addition, the study found positivity rates among oral fluid tests were significantly higher than those found among urine extractions. Sample suggested oral fluid exams are harder to cheat on because they are conducted in front of an observant, unlike urine tests.

Data Quest also discovered marijuana continues to be the most used illegal drug among job seekers, while amphetamine abuse continued its five-year increase streak. 

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