In a reversal from last quarter, opiate positive rate in workplace testing showed a 22% jump from Q1 to Q2 2018, but only a 6.9% increase from 2Q 2017, said Steven Brimmer, Ph.D., scientific director of Toxicology at Diagnostic Laboratory Services. Cocaine had a slight decline, 2.9% , from Q1 to Q2 2018, but use was up 18% in comparison to Q2 2017.

Marijuana use declined 4.0% from Q1 to Q2 2018 (2.89% to 2.78%), down 1.8% year over year, and synthetic urines use crept up 9.2% from 1.15 percent in Q1 2018 to 1.26% in Q2, and up year over year at 1.7%.

“Although the percent change in the positive rate for marijuana is less than 10%, this change is significant because marijuana is the drug detected the most in workplace drug test programs, in Hawaii and nationally. It’s also nice to note that our workforce positive rates for marijuana are comparable to national tests,” Brimmer said.

“Our second highest positives are for synthetic urine, used by people to try to disguise drug use,” Brimmer added.  “Despite these challenges, workplace drug programs continue to assist employers interested in providing a safer work environment, improved morale and productivity and lower costs due to absenteeism, worker’s compensation claims and healthcare related costs.”

Amphetamine use was up from Q1 to Q2 2018 (0.78% to 0.80%), but down 16% in comparison to Q2 2017.

Last year, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced a change in their testing to include four semi-synthetic opioids: hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone and oxymorphone that began on January 1, 2018. Some common names for these are OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin.
The addition of these drugs is a change in Federal workplace testing. The testing for these drugs is a result of the country’s opioid epidemic. Hawaii does not yet test for these drugs.

DLS’ quarterly sample size typically includes between 7,000 to 10,000 drug tests.