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According to an article in the New York Times, pre-employment drug tests are leaving employers high and dry when it comes to hiring new workers.
While part of the problem has to do with the number of companies that require the tests, many states’ relaxing laws regarding the use of marijuana, coupled with a growing opiate problem in many parts of the nation, are hurting the workforce.
Employee drug use, “is not a new problem,” Calvina L. Fay, executive director of the Drug Free America Foundation, tells the paper. “Back in the ’80s, it was pretty bad, and we brought it down.”
However, Fay adds the numbers have been “edging back up some” of late, and notes that job providers “have expressed exasperation,” at their dwindling employment prospects.
Quest Diagnostics recently reported that the percentage of American workers who tested positive for illicit drugs has increased for a second consecutive year — to 4.7 percent in 2014 from 4.3 percent in 2013. Significantly, says the company, which has compiled employer-testing data since 1988, 2013 was the first year in a decade that showed an increase in positive drug test results.
Moreover, predictors suggest the problem could get worse as Americans apply for their first jobs: the National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported in September that in 2014, one in 10 Americans ages 12 and older reported using illicit drugs within the last month. That statistic, the survey noted, was the largest percentage reported since 2001.