Meth use highest in western U.S.

Sept. 5, 2011 at 12:29 AM   |   Comments

MADISON, N.J., Sept. 5 (UPI) -- Evidence of methamphetamine use in the general U.S. workforce dropped from 0.18 percent in 2006 to 0.11 percent in 2008, a diagnostic testing firm says.

Quest Diagnostics Inc. issued its annual report on U.S. worker drug use, the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index, which provides a state-by-state analysis of positive methamphetamine test results based on more than 4.5 million urine specimens collected from January to December of last year.

Several states in the West register dramatically higher workforce rates for methamphetamine use than the national average, while the East remains relatively insulated from it, the report says.

Among the 42 states with sufficient data to compare to the national average for positive workplace drugs tests in 2010, those notably above were:

-- Hawaii, 410 percent greater.

-- Arkansas, 280 percent greater.

-- Oklahoma. 240 percent greater.

-- Nevada, 180 percent greater.

-- California, 140 percent greater.

"Many people use methamphetamine recreationally for its euphoric effects, I've also worked with patients who, paralyzed by the recession and juggling multiple jobs and family responsibilities, started using methamphetamine for its 'functional' stimulant benefit," Dr. Steven Shoptaw of the University of California, Los Angeles, says in a statement.

"What they didn't realize is that methamphetamine can wreak havoc on their judgment, their health, their families and their lives."

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