Fueled by more use by employees of marijuana as well as amphetamines, failed drugs tests are on the rise for the first time in over a decade, according to new research released by an information services company.
Analysis of more than 7.5 million drug tests using urine revealed a failure rate of 3.7% in 2013, in comparison to 3.5% during 2012, an increase of over 5%. The percentage of failed tests has not increased since 2003 until now.
In addition, amongst the 800,000 oral fluid tests for drugs, 6.7% were positive for drugs, which was up from the 2009 percentage of just 4.2%.
Tests using hair saw a big increase with 7.4% of the more than 190,000 tests returning positive for drugs. That was an increase of close to 25% from one year to the next.
Marijuana continues as the drug most commonly detected that is illicit, according to the same research.
Positive tests for marijuana in the workforce in the U.S., which includes employees in private businesses and those employees who are subject to the federal drug testing rules like truck drivers, nuclear plant and airline employees, were up by 1.7% during 2013.
Washington and Colorado, the two U.S. states that made the use of recreational marijuana legal over the last year, saw huge increases in failed drug tests.
Drug tests that were failed due to cannabis used were up 23% in the state of Washington and 20% for Colorado.
Overall, the increase across the 50 states was almost 5%.
The big increase cannot be attributed completely to drug legalization in the two states, said researchers. They said that both Washington and Colorado experienced large increases in failed drug tests for cannabis prior to the drug’s legalization in November of 2012.
Many believe that the two states foreshadow the trends of the future in the recreation use of marijuana.
One member of the study said that it was clear that use of marijuana amongst workers in the U.S. was definitely increasing across the country.