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Amphetamines Use Declined Significantly Among U.S. Workers In 2005

Aug 17, 2007
Drug Use Among Workers Declines to 17-year Low in 2005 - Amphetamines use, which includes amphetamine and methamphetamine, declined significantly among general U.S. workforce employees during 2005, according to the semi-annual Drug Testing Index, released by Quest Diagnostics Incorporated (NYSE:DGX)on June 19, 20006. The findings were based on the results of more than 7.3 million workplace drug tests performed by Quest Diagnostics around the country during 2005. The Drug Testing Index compares positivity rates for various drugs by calculating the proportion of positive results for each drug to the total number of drug tests performed.

The Drug Testing Index is published as a public service for government, media and industry and has been considered a benchmark for national trends since its inception in 1988. The 2005 Drug Testing Index summarizes the results of workplace drug tests performed by Quest Diagnostics between January and December 2005. It examines positivity rates among three major testing populations: federally-mandated, safety-sensitive workers; the general workforce; and the combined U.S. workforce. Federally-mandated, safety- sensitive workers include pilots, bus and truck drivers and workers in nuclear power plants, for whom routine drug testing is mandated by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

In 2005, the incidence of amphetamines drug-test positives declined 8% to 0.48% of all drug tests of general U.S. workforce employees that identify amphetamines use. During 2004 amphetamines drug-test positives were 0.52%. Among federally-mandated, safety-sensitive workers, the positivity rate for amphetamines rose by 13% to 0.35% in 2005 from 0.31% in 2004.

Prompted by strong interest from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Quest Diagnostics performed a preliminary review of amphetamines drug-test positives for the first five months in 2006. Between January and May 2006, amphetamines drug-test positives among general U.S. workforce employees declined by 10% versus 2005, reaching 0.43% of all drug tests that identify amphetamines use. Among federally-mandated, safety- sensitive workers, the positivity rate for amphetamines declined by 20% during the 2006 period reaching 0.28% of all drug tests that look for amphetamines use.

Among a large group of general U.S. workforce employees, the incidence of methamphetamine positives of all drug tests that look for amphetamines, declined from 0.33% in 2004 to 0.26% in 2005 and to 0.18% in the first five months of 2006. Compared to 2005, this represents a 31% decrease in the first five months of 2006, and a 45% decrease since 2004. For federally-mandated, safety-sensitive workers, the incidence of methamphetamine drug-test positives declined by 28% during the first five months of 2006, compared to 2005, reaching 0.18% of all drug tests that look for amphetamines. Amphetamines positivity in the first five months of 2006 is at its lowest point since 2002- 2003 among general U.S. workforce employees and federally-mandated, safety- sensitive workers.

Amphetamines belong to a category of drugs known as stimulants, which are used by individuals to increase alertness, relieve fatigue, feel stronger and more decisive.(1) Amphetamines include the drugs amphetamine, dextroamphetamine, methamphetamine and their various salts. Chemical properties and actions of these individual drugs are very similar. Methamphetamine is typically produced clandestinely for illicit use.

"During 2005 we detected a downward trend in amphetamines positive test results in the general U.S. workforce and in 2006 the trend took hold among all U.S. workers," said Barry Sample, Ph.D., Director of Science and Technology for Quest Diagnostics' Employer Solutions division. "In the first five months of 2006 amphetamines drug-test positives declined to a three-and- a-half year low among both groups, driven by significant declines in methamphetamine drug-test positives. This finding could reflect the increased efforts by federal, state and local authorities to shut down clandestine methamphetamine laboratories."

Overall, the testing data indicated that workplace drug use fell to the lowest level since Quest Diagnostics began publishing the Drug Testing Index in 1988. Of all tests for all drugs performed by Quest Diagnostics during 2005 for the combined U.S. workforce, 4.1% had positive results, compared to 4.5% in 2004 and 13.6% in 1988. A significant decline in positive marijuana drug test results among all U.S. workers drove the decline. Use of marijuana among U.S. workers, as measured by positive drug test results, decreased by approximately 12% in 2005 among all categories of workers compared to 2004.

Color graphics of the Drug Testing Index, including regional maps which show positivity rates by type of drug, are available on-line at www.questdiagnostics.com to provide more localized workplace drug test data. The Drug Testing Index is released every six months as a service for government, media and industry, and is considered a benchmark for national trends.
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