In 2004, the American Management Association estimated that around 62% of all companies in the United States relied on drug testing to aid in safety and productivity in the workplace. With SHRM polls reporting that the majority of companies pay between $30 and $50 per test, it is important to periodically review what drugs you’re testing for, ensuring that you are not wasting money screening for substances that are no longer a threat to the working community. In particular, you may want to consider removing the relatively unknown Methaqualone and Propoxyphene from your 10-panel and replacing them with more common drugs of abuse, like Oxycodone.
Why not just test for all of them?
In the 1970s, the United States saw a sharp upsurge in the use of recreational drugs like Methaqualone, known colloquially as Quaaludes. In response, laboratories created the standard 10-panel drug test, which includes Methaqualone. However, in 1985 the FDA banned the manufacturing of Quaaludes, concluding that the harm it caused the human body outweighed the benefits. Since then, usage has tapered off quickly. According to Medical Review Officers (MROs), GIS has had zero positive tests for Quaaludes since 2014.
Similarly, Propoxyphene (aka Darvon), another drug typically tested for on the standard 10-panel drug test, was discontinued by the FDA in 2010. With the drug no longer being manufactured, MROs reported an overall positive testing rate of 0.002% for this substance. As with Quaaludes, this number will only continue to drop over time.
In reaction to these changing statistics, many companies have opted to drop the Methaqualone and Propoxyphene testing from the panel and cut costs. Alternatively, many others have opted to replace these outdated substances with something else altogether.
Ok. So what are companies testing for instead?
- Since 2015, drug overdoses have become the leading cause of death in Americans under the age of 50, with two-thirds of those deaths from opioids like Oxycodone. The 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that 9.9% of people between the ages of 18 and 25 reported abusing Oxycodone. Around 1 in 30 high school seniors reported abusing OxyContin at least once. Opioid use in general has increased to such a level that in March of 2017, the governor of Maryland declared a state of emergency to combat the epidemic. In July of this year, opioid addiction was cited as the FDA’s biggest crisis. Given this information, it is a growing necessity that companies test for this substance.
- Also known as Ecstasy, MDMA has also experienced a new rise in popularity in the last 5 to 10 years. According to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction’s most recent survey data, 2.1 million people between the ages of 15 and 34 have used Ecstasy in the last year, a result 300,000 higher than the estimate in 2015. In fact, 9 out of 12 of the countries monitored (including the US) reported higher estimates of the drug’s use in the last year. These numbers are only expected to increase in the coming years, thanks in part to the increase in purity and availability of the drug.
Why this matters:
By following trends and patterns like this, we can best predict what substances are the most efficient and effective to test against. With all of this in mind, we ask that that all of our clients consider replacing Methaqualone and Propoxyphene with Oxycodone and MDMA on your 10-panel drug test. Doing so will not only ensure you are getting the best bang for your buck, but also that you have the best possible chance to protect your workplace and business from the dangers of substance abuse.