Maui News

Workforce Drug Test Study: Cocaine Use, Synthetic Urine Detection Up

January 4, 2019, 12:17 PM HST
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Year-end workforce drug test results show marijuana up and amphetamines down; however all categories showed increases in the fourth quarter of 2018, according to new information released by Diagnostic Laboratory Services, Inc.

The study showed that cocaine and synthetic urine use were up significantly in the fourth quarter.

Diagnostic Laboratory Services, Inc. is a medical testing laboratory that offers a comprehensive range of routine and esoteric testing services and the most sophisticated forensic toxicology and substance abuse testing services in the State of Hawaii. The company employs more than 700 people and has locations throughout Hawaiʻi, Saipan and Guam.

“We saw a large, 53.4%, increase from Q3 2018 to Q4 2018 in positive results for cocaine; however, overall cocaine use declined 18.1% year to year (Q4 2017 to Q4 2018),” said Steven Brimmer, Ph.D., Scientific Director of Toxicology at Diagnostic Laboratory Services.

“Although I was hopeful about the drop in positive cocaine results in Q3, I think that the Q4 numbers are more ‘normal’. That seems to be the case for amphetamines and synthetic urine as well,” Brimmer said. Positive results for amphetamine use were up 4.4% from Q3 to Q4.

“Overall though, year-to-year results are encouraging with all categories down with a significant 40.1% decrease in amphetamine use year to year,” said Brimmer.


Marijuana use was up 15.7% year to year and up 7.2% from Q3 to Q4, but still relatively close to the national average. Opiates gave back all the Q2 to Q3 drop with a 10.8% increase in use from Q3 to Q4, but still showed a 29% decline year over year.


The use of synthetic urine, commonly used as an attempt to disguise drug use, was up 37.4% from Q3 to Q4 and up 0.5% year to year.

Diagnostic Laboratory Services’ quarterly sample size typically includes between 7,000 to 10,000 drug tests.

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