What HR Needs to Know About Rising Post-Accident Marijuana Positivity Rates

June 29, 2023 by Verified First

Workforce drug test positivity rates have been steadily climbing over the last decade. Now, employers are seeing higher instances of post-accident marijuana positivity, according to Quest Diagnostic’s latest research. In fact, post-accident marijuana positivity reached its 25-year high in 2022. 

How can HR leaders manage increasing post-accident drug test positivity numbers? Let’s take a look at some surprising workforce marijuana use statistics you should know and ways your organization can respond. 

Workforce Marijuana Use by the Numbers

Quest Diagnostics reported that the number of positive post-accident marijuana tests increased by 9% since last year, reaching a new high of 7.3%. This trend follows the increased use of marijuana we have seen over the last decade. But what’s really surprising is that post-accident positivity for marijuana has increased 204% since 2012. 

The positivity rate for all workforce marijuana tests in 2022 was 4.3%, a slight increase from 3.9% in 2021. Quest Diagnostics reported that the increase in positivity rates was higher in states that have legalized medical or recreational marijuana use. 

These numbers even include workers in safety-sensitive jobs, showing this trend persists among all sectors of the American workforce. Over the last few years, the workforce positivity rate has climbed in most industries. Here are some of the most significant increases since 2018: 

  • Accommodation and Food Services increased by 42.9%
  • Retail and Trade increased by 42.6%
  • Finance and Insurance increased by 38.5%

The Rise of Post-Accident Positivity

We’ve seen a steady increase in workforce marijuana and drug positivity rates over the last decade, but why? Well, various contributors impact the ride of post-accident positivity numbers—first, the legalization of recreational marijuana in certain states. Colorado and Washington were the first two states to legalize recreational marijuana use. Since then, 19 more states have followed suit, and another 38 have legalized medical marijuana use. 

Both pre-employment and post-accident positivity rates have steadily increased, and the recent sharp rise may suggest the changing societal attitudes about marijuana are directly impacting the workplace. While society’s views on marijuana are changing, the physical drug itself is also. Over recent years, THC potency has increased drastically. Since 1995, the percentage of THC found in cannabis seized by the DEA increased from 3.9% to 15.3% in 2021

How Employers Can Manage Post-Accident Positivity 

In addition to physical accidents, marijuana use in the workforce can create an unsafe work environment or cause damage to your organization’s reputation. To manage rising rates of cannabis use and post-accident positivity in the workplace, employers should focus on mitigating risks with strategies during the recruitment and hiring process. Here are some ways to do this: 

Create a written drug policy

Having an established and clear drug policy that is reinforced to employees can help mitigate risks and deter drug use. Taking steps to create and maintain drug-use policies is essential to educating employees and creating a safe workplace. 

Establish a drug screening process

Pre-employment drug screening is a great first step to mitigating risk and deterring workforce marijuana use. However, a comprehensive drug screening process can also include post-accident screens, random screens, and more. Working with a certified drug screening provider makes this easy to initiate and manage. 

Conduct random drug testing

Random drug testing can encourage your employees to stay sober and therefore reduce workplace accidents. Managing a random drug screening program can be challenging, but Verified First makes it easy. Whether you are DOT-regulated or not, simply provide us with your employee census and we can send you a quarterly randomized list of employees to drug screen — it’s that simple.

How Verified First Can Help You

Verified First makes drug screening your candidates and employees easy. We offer custom packages designed to fit your unique screening needs. From pre-employment drug testing, DOT-compliant screens, occupational health options, and more, Verified First has you covered. 

Our eScreen API capabilities give you efficient results in minutes. eScreen offers instant 4-11 panel urine testing for target drugs, offering negative results in as early as 15 minutes. This makes our process efficient and compliant while giving quick and thorough information. Plus, we can help you manage your drug screening program. Whether you are regulated by the DOT, want to run randomized drug testing in-house, or establish a more thorough employee rescreening process, we can help! 

Reach out to us to implement streamlined drug testing in your recruitment and talent management strategy.

About Verified First
Verified First is known for delivering streamlined background screening backed by the best client support, and for developing the easiest, fastest HR system integrations, for free. Our client support team is U.S.-based, answers calls in seconds, resulting in hundreds of positive testimonials and a 96% customer satisfaction. Verified First's patent-pending, award-winning integrations include over 100 applicant tracking systems, and provide clients a turn-key experience.

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