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American Workforce Drug Use at a 12 Year High

According to the annual Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index, positivity in drug testing in the combined American workforce is the highest since 2004.  In 2016 there was a five percent increase over the prior year.  This was fueled by illicit drugs including cocaine.  This troubling increase was found among all testing specimens among virtually all sectors of business.

From an employer perspective, the reasons for an employer to create a safe and drug-free workplace are clear.  This is especially the case for employers in the trades and the construction industry.  Implementing a company-wide drug testing program can be tricky.  Fortunately Insurance Associates can assist with your needs in getting this in place.

The positive rate in cocaine testing has increased for the fourth consecutive year among the general American workforce.  In 2016 specifically, cocaine increased by a whopping 12% from 2015.  The positive cocaine rate in post-accident urine drug tests was more than twice that of pre-employment drug tests!  This could be due to the current national debate around marijuana and opiate addiction and the somewhat lack of a spotlight being on cocaine at the moment.

Not surprisingly marijuana positivity has increased 75% in one year.  In states that allow legal consumption of marijuana like Colorado and Washington, the increase for positive marijuana tests has increased more than the national average.  Because of the national focus of this issue and the trend of more and more states allowing recreational use, it’s expected that this increase will continue in the future.

There has been a large national debate recently over the opiate epidemic, especially related to workers compensation claims.  Surprisingly however, heroin positive tests held steady despite the crackdown on doctors prescribing opiates for patients.  This was after four straight years of increases, due to the fact that those addicted substituted heroin for their pill addiction.

No matter what trade you are involved in, it is more important than ever to roll out a comprehensive company-wide drug testing policy immediately.  Workplace accidents are obviously less likely to happen if your employees are not on drugs and working sober.  This has a direct effect on many things, including your experience mod and your insurance premiums.  If you have questions regarding implementing a company-wide drug testing policy, contact Insurance Associates where we can assist you in developing a comprehensive program that meet the unique needs of your business.

Information about the Author:  Before coming to Insurance Associates, BJ spent twelve years working for several property and casualty insurance companies with four plus years as a claims supervisor.  He received one of the industry’s most recognized designations, Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter in 2012.  BJ graduated at the gold level from ABC of Metro Washington’s Leadership Development Program. At Insurance Associates, BJ is first and foremost an advocate for our clients.  Whether it’s helping a client lower their experience mod or using his expertise to get a claim paid for a client, he’s always available to help with any of their claim needs.  A former 4:10 miler, BJ ran cross country and indoor/outdoor track for West Virginia University.  BJ is most likely to be found on the golf course in his free time.

William (BJ) Westner, CPCU, CRIS
Senior Claims Consultant

Sources: http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2017/05/17/451343.htm

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