Positive marijuana test results following workplace accidents reaches 25-year high

Positive marijuana test - Workplace accident - marijuana leaves

Results in the finance and insurance industry rose by a considerable 38.5% in five years.

Workforce positive marijuana test results after accidents have reached a 25-year high, according to the recently published results of the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index.

The rise among the general workforce in the United States aligned with early recreational pot legalizations.

Last year, the percentage of US workers who have had a positive marijuana test result after a workplace accident had increased to the highest level recorded in 25 years. This, according to a new Quest Diagnostics analysis.

Positive marijuana test - Urine sample
Credit: Photo by depositphotos.com

The urine drug testing positivity in 2022 among the general US workforce was 7.3 percent. This represented a 9 percent increase over 2021, when that figure had been 6.7 percent. The new spike has occurred on the heels of a steady rise in post-accident positive testing that has occurred every year from 2012 through the most recent year for which data is available, 2022.

Within that decade, the positivity rate for these tests skyrocketed by 204.2 percent. From 2002 to 2009, there had been a decline in positive test results. The change in trend aligns with the legalization of recreational cannabis product use in certain states, as Colorado and Washington became the first states to do so in 2012. Nineteen additional states and Washington DC have done the same since then. A total of 38 states have legalized its medical use. That said, federal law continues to deem either form illegal.

Post-accident positive marijuana test results have increased with the legal availability of the drug in many states.

“Intoxicating cannabis products, including marijuana, can have a major impact on safety at work and have been proven to slow reaction time, impact memory and impair skills essential to driving. State legalization of the drug creates new challenges for employers,” said National Safety Council senior program manager Katie Mueller.

“The Quest data provide compelling evidence that increased use of cannabis products by employees can contribute to greater risk for injuries in the workplace. It is imperative employers take the proper steps to create and maintain a policy that addresses cannabis use, build a safety-focused culture and educate the workforce to keep all workers safe on and off the job,” added Mueller when discussing the positive marijuana test result trend identified in the report.

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