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The Wall Street Journal reports that U.S. workers who tested positive for illicit drugs reached the highest level in a decade. The data, based on over 9.5 million urine tests, was collected by Quest Diagnostics. In 2015, four percent of drug tests were positive for one or more illicit drugs. Though the last few decades have shown a decline in positive drug tests, they’ve risen for the third year in a row. It’s common for employers to mandate drug tests upon hiring, at random, and certainly after accidents in the workplace occur.

Generally, the data shows that 10% of Americans over age 12 have used an illicit drug in the previous month. Nearly half of all workplace positive tests are for marijuana, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services says, which is currently holding steady from 2014. Not surprisingly, there’s been an increase in the detection of heroin between 2011 and 2015, likely attributed to the fact that prescription drugs are becoming more difficult to obtain.

The Wall Street Journal also emphasizes “the federal government estimates that by 2020, mental and substance abuse disorders will surpass physical disease as a major cause of disability globally.” What does that mean for employers as well as employees? In the workforce, mental health will certainly be a cause for concern, if it’s not already. Stressing open conversation and offering resources for employees can make a lasting difference for overall mental health and the climate of the workplace.

3rd Millennium Classrooms has partnered with IntroVentions, an online alcohol and drug intervention and prevention company for Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) companies. Clients have the option to choose from Alcohol-Wise WorkplaceMarijuana 101 WorkplaceUnder the Influence Workplace, or an extended intervention that includes motivational interviewing. IntroVentions’ employee-tailored programs provide measurable outcome reports based on comprehensive data from employee responses and are proven to motivate change in attitudes and behaviors.

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