March 28, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 28, 2017 Media Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, 207-621-5009
Percents of positives for probable cause and random tests increase despite fewer overall tests reported
AUGUSTA—The Maine Department of Labor has issued the 2016 Annual Report on Substance Abuse Testing by Maine Employers. The report is available at http://www.maine.gov/labor/labor_stats/publications/substanceabuse/index.html .
“With the opioid crisis and now the legalization of marijuana, the potential for people being impaired on the job is increasing, endangering not only the worker taking the drug, but also coworkers and clients,” stated Governor Paul R. LePage. “Maine must provide employers the appropriate tools to retain valuable workers and help people in recovery back into the workforce, discourage the use of dangerous drugs like opioids, properly regulate marijuana and maintain a safe work environment.”
The report covers testing of both job applicants and employees, with the vast majority being applicant testing. Both the number of tests administered and the number of positive results fell during the recession and have trended up during the recovery.
The highest percentage of positive tests occurred in 2015, at 5 percent. Many employers use a common five-panel test including cannabinoids (marijuana), amphetamines, cocaine, opiates, and phencyclidine. Cannabinoids accounted for 83.6 percent of all positive test results in 2015 and in 2016 they accounted for 90.4 percent of all positive test results.
The Department’s Bureau of Labor Standards helps employees and businesses make their worksites safer, provides education and enforcement of wage and hour laws and gathers information on working in Maine. Its Technical Services Division is Maine’s leading resource for data and analysis relating to workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities, and it enforces the current workplace drug testing statute and coordinates research projects related to the state’s workplace safety and health.