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Amphetamine Use Increases In the General U.S. Workforce, According to Quest Diagnostics' 2002 Drug Testing Index
- Overall Workplace Drug Use Declines to 14-year Low in 2002 -
PRNewswire-FirstCall
TETERBORO, N.J.

The incidence of positive drug test results attributed to amphetamine use increased substantially among general U.S. workforce employees over the last five years during a time when amphetamines became more widely accessible,(1) according to the annual Drug Testing Index®, released today by Quest Diagnostics Incorporated , the leading provider of employer drug testing services in the United States.

The Drug Testing Index summarizes the results of workplace drug tests performed by Quest Diagnostics between January and December 2002. The Drug Testing Index 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.

Among general U.S. workforce employees, the incidence of amphetamine positivity has grown by 70% over five years, reaching 0.34% of all drug tests that look for amphetamine use. During the same period five years ago amphetamine positivity was 0.20%.

Among federally-mandated, safety-sensitive workers, the incidence of amphetamine positivity was 0.28% of all drug tests that look for amphetamine use; during the same period five years ago amphetamine positivity was 0.25%.

Methamphetamine, which is a type of amphetamine, increased in production and trafficking during the 1990's(2) to become the most prevalent illegally manufactured synthetic drug in the United States, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Its potential to be highly addictive caused use of the drug to increase dramatically throughout the nation.

"Over the past five years there has been a noticeable climb in the use of amphetamines, including methamphetamines, among the general U.S. workforce," said Barry Sample, Ph.D., Director of Science and Technology for Quest Diagnostics' Corporate Health and Wellness division. "In fact, during this period amphetamine abuse as measured by the Drug Testing Index increased by 70%. This is a significant finding when considered with the government's documented increase in methamphetamine production, trafficking and use."

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. Stimulants are also used for euphoric effects or to counteract the "down" feeling of tranquilizers or alcohol. Possible side effects of stimulants include increased heart and respiratory rates, elevated blood pressure, dilated pupils and decreased appetite; high doses may cause rapid or irregular heartbeat, loss of coordination or collapse. Indications of possible misuse may include excessive activity, talkativeness, irritability, argumentativeness or nervousness.(3)

Overall, workplace drug use declined in 2002 to the lowest level since Quest Diagnostics began publicizing the Drug Testing Index in 1988. The overall drop was a continuation of steadily declining positivity rates among federally-mandated, safety-sensitive workers since 1998. The drug positivity rate for the combined U.S. workforce, which is the number of positive test results compared to the total number of drug tests performed by Quest Diagnostics, declined to 4.4% between January and December 2002. In 2002 the drug positivity rate for federally-mandated, safety-sensitive workers was 2.5% while the drug positivity rate for the general U.S. workforce remained steady at 4.8%. Quest Diagnostics performed more than 7 million drug tests for the combined U.S. workforce during 2002.

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.

Quest Diagnostics Incorporated is the nation's leading provider of diagnostic testing, information and services, providing insights that enable healthcare professionals to make decisions that improve health. The company offers the broadest access to diagnostic testing services in the United States through its national network of laboratories and patient service centers, and provides interpretive consultation through its extensive medical and scientific staff. Quest Diagnostics is the leading provider of esoteric testing, including gene-based medical testing, and also empowers healthcare organizations and clinicians with state-of-the-art connectivity solutions that improve patient care. Additional company information is available at: www.questdiagnostics.com.

The Drug Testing Index © 2003 Quest Diagnostics Incorporated. All rights reserved.

   (1)  Source:  DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration), Congressional
        Testimony, Statement of Asa Hutchinson Administrator, Drug
        Enforcement Administration Before the House Committee on
        Appropriations Subcommittee for the Departments of Commerce,
        Justice, State, the Judiciary and Related Agencies, March 20, 2002

   (2)  Source:  DEA Resources For Law Enforcement Officers, Intelligence
        Reports, Chemical Diversion and Synthetic Drug Manufacture, January
        2002, http://www.dea.gov/pubs/intel/intel010621.html

   (3)  Source:  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and SAMHSA's
        National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information, Drug
        Category Profile: Stimulants,
        http://ncadi.samhsa.gov/govpubs/rpo926/


                         Annual Positivity Rates
                      (For Combined U.S. Workforce)
       (More than 7.0 million tests from January to December 2002)

           Year                       Drug Positive Rate
           1988                              13.6%
           1989                              12.7%
           1990                              11.0%
           1991                               8.8%
           1992                               8.8%
           1993                               8.4%
           1994                               7.5%
           1995                               6.7%
           1996                               5.8%
           1997                               5.0%
           1998                               4.8%
           1999                               4.6%
           2000                               4.7%
           2001                               4.6%
           2002                               4.4%


   Positivity Rates By Testing Category

   Testing Category                         2002   2001   2000   1999   1998
   Federally-Mandated, Safety-Sensitive
    Workforce                               2.5%   2.9%   3.1%   3.2%   3.4%
   General U.S. Workforce                   4.8%   4.9%   4.9%   4.8%   5.0%
   Combined U.S. Workforce                  4.4%   4.6%   4.7%   4.6%   4.8%


   Positivity Rates By Testing Reason
   (For Federally-Mandated, Safety-Sensitive Workforce)
   (More than 1.2 million tests from January to December 2002)

   Testing Reason                   2002     2001     2000     1999     1998
   For Cause                       14.3%    14.4%    14.8%    14.0%    15.3%
   Periodic                        0.95%     1.1%     1.1%     1.1%     1.4%
   Post-Accident                    3.3%     3.6%     3.9%     3.7%     4.3%
   Pre-Employment                   2.9%     3.4%     3.6%     3.7%     3.8%
   Random                           1.9%     2.2%     2.4%     2.6%     2.7%
   Returned to Duty                 3.4%     3.5%     3.8%     4.4%     4.8%


   Postivity Rates By Testing Reason
   (For General U.S. Workforce)
   (More than 5.7 million tests from January to December 2002)

   Testing Reason                   2002     2001     2000     1999     1998
   For Cause                       25.9%    26.1%    25.7%    24.7%    25.3%
   Periodic                         2.7%     3.4%     4.4%     4.5%     4.9%
   Post-Accident                    5.9%     6.0%     5.9%     5.6%     6.4%
   Pre-Employment                   4.3%     4.4%     4.5%     4.5%     4.6%
   Random                           6.5%     7.0%     7.7%     6.9%     7.3%
   Returned to Duty                 5.6%     5.3%     5.3%     5.5%     7.2%


   Positivity Rates By Drug Category
   (For Federally-Mandated, Safety-Sensitive Workforce, as a percentage of
   all such tests)
   (More than 1.2 million tests from January to December 2002)

   Drug Category                    2002     2001     2000     1999     1998
   Amphetamines                    0.28%    0.29%    0.27%    0.26%    0.25%
   Cocaine                         0.56%    0.60%    0.64%    0.71%    0.78%
   Marijuana                       1.44%    1.72%    1.92%    1.86%    1.87%
   Opiates                         0.19%    0.26%    0.25%    0.27%    0.49%
   PCP                             0.04%    0.05%    0.06%    0.05%    0.05%
   Oxidizing Adulterants
    (incl. Nitrites)               0.05%    0.05%    0.10%    0.21%      NA
   Substitution                    0.05%    0.02%    0.03%    0.03%      NA


   Positivity Rates By Drug Category
   (For General U.S. Workforce, as a percentage of all such tests)
   (More than 5.7 million tests from January to December 2002)

   Drug Category                    2002     2001     2000     1999     1998
   Amphetamines                    0.34%    0.29%    0.25%    0.22%    0.20%
   Barbiturates                    0.30%    0.34%    0.38%    0.44%    0.38%
   Benzodiazepines                 0.58%    0.60%    0.55%    0.50%    0.55%
   Cocaine                         0.71%    0.69%    0.73%    0.80%    0.91%
   Marijuana                       2.98%    3.17%    3.29%    3.17%    3.17%
   Methadone                       0.16%    0.13%    0.13%    0.08%    0.06%
   Opiates                         0.27%    0.29%    0.27%    0.26%    0.50%
   PCP                             0.02%    0.02%    0.02%    0.02%    0.01%
   Propoxyphene                    0.73%    0.52%    0.36%    0.33%    0.29%
   Oxidizing Adulterants
   (incl. Nitrites)                0.05%    0.05%    0.10%    0.23%      NA
   Substitution                    0.03%    0.03%    0.03%    0.04%      NA


   Positivity Rates By Drug Category
   (For Federally-Mandated, Safety-Sensitive Workers, as a Percentage of All
   Positives)
   (More than 1.2 million tests from January to December 2002)

   Drug Category                    2002     2001     2000     1999     1998
   Acid/Base                       0.45%    0.32%    0.16%    0.46%      --
   Amphetamines                    10.8%     9.6%     8.3%     7.7%     7.1%
   Cocaine                         21.1%    20.0%    19.6%    21.2%    22.3%
   Marijuana                       56.0%    58.3%    60.2%    56.9%    54.7%
   Opiates                          7.3%     8.5%     7.8%     8.0%      14%
   Oxidizing Adulterants
    (incl. Nitrites)               0.90%    0.82%     1.4%     3.1%    0.32%
   PCP                              1.5%     1.7%     1.7%     1.6%     1.6%
   Substituted                      1.9%    0.77%    0.77%     0.96%     --


   Positivity Rates  By Drug Category
   (For General U.S. Workforce, as a Percentage of All Positives)
   (More than 5.7 million tests from January to December 2002)

   Drug Category                    2002     2001     2000     1999     1998
   Acid/Base                       0.25%    0.23%    0.07%     0.14%     --
   Amphetamines                     6.7%     5.5%     4.8%      4.3%    3.8%
   Barbiturates                     2.9%     3.2%     3.5%      3.7%    3.3%
   Benzodiazepines                  5.0%     5.0%     4.2%      3.3%    3.7%
   Cocaine                         13.9%    13.2%    13.9%     15.8%   17.2%
   Marijuana                       57.7%    60.9%    63.0%     62.6%   59.6%
   Methadone                        1.2%    0.98%    0.89%     0.45%   0.39%
   Methaqualone                    0.00%    0.00%    0.00%     0.00%   0.00%
   Opiates                          5.3%     5.5%     5.2%      5.1%    9.4%
   Oxidizing Adulterants
    (incl. Nitrites)               0.48%    0.51%    0.88%      1.6%   0.66%
   PCP                             0.47%    0.46%    0.45%     0.35%   0.26%
   Propoxyphene                     5.6%     4.0%     2.5%      2.0%    1.8%
   Substituted                     0.54%    0.48%    0.56%     0.80%     --


   Positivity Rates By Drug Category
   (For Combined U.S. Workforce, as a Percentage of All Positives)
   (More than 7.0 million tests from January to December 2002)

   Drug Category                    2002     2001     2000     1999     1998
   Acid/Base                       0.27%    0.24%    0.08%    0.16%      --
   Amphetamines                     7.1%     5.9%     5.1%     4.5%     4.0%
   Barbiturates                     2.6%     2.9%     3.2%     3.4%     3.0%
   Benzodiazepines                  4.5%     4.5%     3.9%     3.1%     3.4%
   Cocaine                         14.6%    13.9%    14.4%    16.2%    17.6%
   Marijuana                       57.6%    60.6%    62.8%    62.2%    59.2%
   Methadone                        1.1%    0.88%    0.82%    0.42%    0.36%
   Methaqualone                    0.00%    0.00%    0.00%    0.00%  0.0007%
   Opiates                          5.5%     5.8%     5.4%     5.3%     9.7%
   Oxidizing Adulterants
    (incl. Nitrites)               0.52%    0.54%    0.92%     1.7%    0.63%
   PCP                             0.58%    0.59%    0.56%    0.44%    0.37%
   Propoxyphene                     5.1%     3.5%     2.3%     1.8%     1.7%
   Substituted                     0.68%    0.51%    0.58%    0.81%      --

SOURCE: Quest Diagnostics Incorporated

CONTACT: Laure Park (Investors), +1-201-393-5030, or Jennifer Somers
(Media), +1-201-393-5700, both of Quest Diagnostics Incorporated

Web site: http://www.questdiagnostics.com/