As the drug-testing industry has developed more tamper-proof sampling methods, positive results for employee drug use have gone up.
Quest Diagnostics reports about five times more heroin use in the general U.S. workforce than previously believed.
That’s the results of Quest’s first report on oral fluid testing using 320,000 samples taken between January and June 2010.
Testing detected a marker for heroin use in 0.04% of samples (4 out of 10,000 workers) compared to 0.008% in urine testing (8 out of 100,000).
Also, new federally mandated urine testing for transportation workers found 20% more positives than previously when testing for a specific heroin marker known as 6-AM.
“New federal requirements appear to be weeding out more heroin users from safety sensitive roles,” said Dr. Barry Sample, director of science and technology for Quest.
The new oral testing also revealed use of ecstasy (MDMA) by 4 out of 100,000 employees.
“Alternative specimen testing, such as oral fluid and hair testing, has added convenience and flexibility to employer drug testing programs,” said Dr. Sample.
There are no known adulterants that can be used to tamper with oral-fluid testing.