Cocaine, derived from the coca plant is native to South America where many people chew the plant’s leaves to reduce pain, thirst, hunger, while giving a boost of energy. By the 1880s, doctors were studying cocaine as a miracle anesthetic for surgeries. It was also being studied for a variety of health conditions including anxiety and pain. By the turn of the 20th century, fatalities were associated with cocaine and an article in The New York Times by Dr. Edward Huntington Williams warned of the drug’s dangers, calling its effects “cocaine-craze insanity.” In 1914, Congress passed the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act which banned the non-medical use of cocaine in the United States. Today, cocaine is classified as a Schedule II controlled drug with a high potential for abuse, which may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.


After an analysis of more than ten million workplace drug tests, cocaine made headlines in this year’s Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ (DTI) report because drug test results indicating cocaine use rose 12 percent in 2016. This increase reflects a seven-year high which has led to a trend of consecutive year increases of cocaine use in the workplace – both in federally mandated, safety-sensitive positions like transportation workers as well as general U.S. workers. Overall, cocaine drug use has fluctuated in the U.S. general workforce with its highest levels in 1998 and its lowest levels in 2012 according to the DTI.


Even more troubling is that positive drug tests indicating cocaine use are twice as high when the test was conducted in a post-accident scenario as compared to pre-employment tests.

While a positive test doesn’t necessarily prove drug use caused the accident, it does raise the question as to whether it played a role in the incident.

The most current findings from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health tell us:

  • An estimated 8.2 percent of adults (aged 26 or older), or 17.1 million people, currently use an illicit drug
  • 580,000 young adults (ages 18-25) and 1.2 million adults currently use cocaine
  • Approximately 31,000 adolescents (ages 12-17), 229,000 young adults, and 637,000 adults suffer from a cocaine use disorder, pointing to dependence and recurrent use that affects health and responsibilities at work, home, or school


Visit for the full report and data.


To learn more about drug testing, visit our website or contact us online or call/text 843-972-3287.


The old adage, “time is money” has never been more true. It didn’t take long for the management team of a small asphalt company in South Carolina to realize how much money was literally waiting for them when they evaluated their current drug testing service provider. Having used a local urgent care clinic for their drug test collections for years, company representatives didn’t realize there were options available to them until they were approached by a representative from Carolina Testing based in Conway, SC.

The asphalt company maintained an average of 120 employees in 2014, all of whom were subject to pre-employment and random drug testing as well as other forms of drug testing as needed. After reviewing the previous year’s drug testing information, the company found that 58 random drug tests, 32 pre-employment drug screens and 17 other tests were completed at the local urgent care clinic, for a total of 107 drug tests in one year. Average wait time at this facility was 2 hours or more for an employee to be taken care of.


The results of their review were astounding:

  • Average wait time at clinic: 2 hours per employee
  • Average wage per employee tested: $19.50 per hour
  • 107 drug tests X 2 hours waiting = 214 hours

214 hours waiting X $19.50 per hour = $4173.00

Over $4,000.00 was paid out by the company to have employees sitting in a waiting room.

The math got even worse as they dug deeper. On average, the company bills out $54.00 per hour per employee to its customers. While employees were sitting in the waiting room, the company lost $11,556 in billable hours.


The Carolina Testing Difference

Four months after switching to Carolina Testing for their drug testing services in September 2015, the company ran the numbers again. Average wait time was found to be less than 10 minutes.

The math tells the rest of the story:

  • Average time at clinic: 5 minutes per employee
  • Average wage per employee tested: $19.50 per hour
  • 107 drug tests X 5 minutes waiting = 8.92 hours
  • 8.92 hours X $19.50 per hour = $173.94
  • 8.92 hours X $54.00 billable hours = $481.68

TOTAL SAVINGS:  $15,073.38

Please contact Carolina Testing for a free, no obligation evaluation of your company’s drug testing program including cost reporting, policy review and other savings opportunities available to your company.

No longer just a public safety issue, prescription drug misuse and abuse also weighs heavily on the workplace. According to The Clinical Journal of Pain, illegal use of prescription opioids cost the United States employers over $40 billion dollars in lost productivity in 2006 alone. Five drugs in particular, OxyContin®, oxycodone, hydrocodone, propoxyphene, and methadone, accounted for two-thirds of the total economic burden. As regulations tighten around these drugs and availability becomes more scarce, users are turning to other, more potent opioids such as fentanyl or street drugs like heroin.

One of the nation’s leading safety advocates, the National Safety Council (NSC), highlights issues in an effort to eliminate preventable deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy. The NSC has highlighted prescription drug misuse as one of the critical safety issues facing our communities because of the alarming rise in addiction rates, ER visits, overdoses, and fatalities. With over 43,000 drug overdose fatalities per year in the United States, it is safe to say that we have reached epidemic levels.

Prescription Drug Addicts 40 Times More Likely To Become Addicted To Heroin

The NSC reported results from its recent survey, examining employers’ perceptions and experiences with prescription drugs. Because of misuse and abuse, employers face challenges with absenteeism, lower job performance, accidents and injuries, positive drug test results, co-workers using, borrowing, or selling prescription drugs at work, and a negative impact on employee morale. In addition, the NSC survey data shows:

  • 81 percent of companies lack a drug-free workplace policy
  • 76 percent of companies do not provide training to identify drug use/abuse
  • 41 percent of companies do not drug test for synthetic opioids such as fentanyl

Employers want to help employees, but less than 20 percent of employers responded that they were “extremely prepared” to deal with the misuse or abuse of prescription medications. Managers stated that they would like additional clarification regarding policy, benefits, insurance, treatment options, and simply identifying warning signs of potential issues.

How can the remaining 80 percent of employers get informed and gain confidence when facing this challenge? Experts suggest that companies add specialized workplace training for supervisors, implement drug testing programs, and strengthen their policies with more precise language about drug use without a prescription, employee impairment, and return-to-work protocols.

The NSC has amassed a comprehensive collection of resources such as drug fact sheets, strategy guides, videos, graphics, and survivor stories to bring greater awareness to the issue.

Download the kit for employers.