Overall drug use down in 3rd quarter

Local News

Workforce drug tests show that overall drug use was down in the third quarter.

“We’re particularly happy to see a decrease in positive results for amphetamines, which includes methamphetamines. Nationally, positive results are up significantly in the Midwest and the South, but Hawaii is showing a decrease over the last year. Hopefully this means a decrease in meth use,” said Steven Brimmer, Ph.D., Scientific Director of Toxicology at Diagnostic Laboratory Services. Test results show a decline of 31 percent from Q2 2018 and 37 percent decline year over year (Q3 2018 v Q3 2017) for amphetamines.

A sharp decrease — plunging down 39% in Q3 from Q2 and 30 percent year over year — in the use of synthetic urine raises a question, says Brimmer. “This could be a double-edged sword. It could indicate that people are being caught using this method to disguise their drug use, or it could mean that manufacturers are making a better product.”

Cocaine was also down significantly from Q2 2018, although still tracking closely to national workforce test results. Positive results from Q2 2018 to Q3 2018 were down 31% and 30% year-over-year. Q2 2018 results were the highest cocaine positive rate in a year.

Also down were positive results for opiate use, a 32% decline from Q2 to Q3 and 18 percent decline year-over-year. 

Marijuana use declined 14% from Q2 to Q3 and 29% year-over-year. Hawaii marijuana use compares well with a national positive rate.

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

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