Use of prescription opiates (hydrocondone, oxycondone, etc.) by employees and applicants rose 18% in the past year and has grown 40% since 2005, according to 5 million drug tests done by testing firm Quest. The results are consistent with a new U.S. government report that showed a 111% increase since 2004 in the number of ER visits for nonmedical use of prescription opiates.
The Quest report suggests prescription opiates are playing more of a role in workplace accidents. The drugs were detected in urine from 3.7% of workers who’d been in work-related accidents, compared with 0.78% of job applicants tested.
The report also says cocaine use among workers continues to decline (down 29% from 2008 to 2009), while methamphetamine usage showed little change.