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Workplace Drug Use Steady in Hawaii

Statistics released by a major workplace drug-testing company show that illegal substance use has remained steady for the last year. Although positive results for meth, THC and cocaine still show up, overall we parallel results from the mainland. However, the limited number of tests performed in Hawaii doesn’t give a completely accurate picture.

Statistics released by Diagnostic Laboratory Services in October are at odds with similar data released in September by Quest Diagnostics. The previous data set showed Hawaii meth use at five times the national average. This second press release doesn’t support those numbers. The explanation is that, because of our relatively low population and the low incidence of meth use overall (0.1 – 0.7%), small changes show up as large swings.

There is more confidence in the rate of THC which has remained fairly steady.

Interestingly, the number of people who get caught trying to use synthetic urine for the tests surpasses those who are caught with cocaine, amphetamine or opioids. Since using fake urine is indicative of an attempt to conceal known drug use, it appears that more of the picture is hidden than is revealed when employees take the test.

Results from these tests are not reported to police and the data is combined and made anonymous before release. Because the two companies are reporting different levels of meth use, it also may indicate some difference in methodology as well as too few tests overall. The data does give a picture of drug use in Hawaii that isn’t revealed in other ways. These people have not been arrested, nor are they patients. The assumption is that the tests are used for the employed and those seeking work, an important demographic.


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