Overall, the use of illegal drugs among the American workforce is on the decline, but a new report indicates there has been a strong upsurge within the past decade of employees testing positive for prescription amphetamines and painkillers.
Recent statistics from the laboratory management group Quest Diagnostics shows that just under four percent of the workers in the United States were found to have traces of amphetamines, cocaine, marijuana, ecstasy, opiates and hallucinogens in their system after undergoing a urinalysis. Researchers say this is a significant decrease in the use of illegal substances from 1988, when nearly 14 percent of the workforce was showing up to the job, either stoned, amped, or tripping balls.
However, the reason for this drop in illegal drug use does not point to the sobriety of the American worker, but rather it signifies a shift in how employees are scoring dope — getting their fix from a family doctor. It seems that blue and white collar speed fiends have apparently replaced their love for cocaine with prescription amphetamines, such as Adderall, with a 180 percent increase in positive test results for this substance since 2002.
Employee use of prescription painkillers has also experienced a frighteningly impressive jump, with positive test results for hydrocodone (Lortab) increasing by 172 percent, oxycodone (Oxycontin) 72 percent, and hydromorphone (Dilaudid) a whopping 433 percent.
There is speculation that the majority of the workforce is gravitating towards the use of prescription drugs instead of their illegal counterparts as a way to stay under the influence without running the risk of losing their job. This is because the majority of employment drug policies will allow an employee to use hardcore pharmaceuticals while on the clock as long as they have a doctor’s prescription.
Yet, this philosophy does not help those employees who partake in what is still considered the most widespread cause for a failed drug test – marijuana. The report shows that nearly 2 percent of the workforce test positive for cannabis, which is a clear indication that despite the legal status of the leaf across most of the nation, the American worker is still toking.