Cocaine use in Hawaii workforce doubled in Q4, compared to 2014

January 06, 2016 - Pacific Business News

Usage of cocaine in the Hawaii workforce doubled during the last quarter of 2015, compared to the same quarter in the year prior, according to new statistics from Diagnostic Laboratory Services.

While drug usage in the Hawaii workforce was relatively steady last year, DLS’ year-end statistics found cocaine use rose from 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014 to 0.4 percent in the last quarter of 2015.

Cocaine usage rose from 0.2 percent in the first quarter of 2015 to 0.4 percent in the second quarter before dipping to 0.3 percent in the third quarter and rising back again to 0.4 percent last quarter.

“The increase in cocaine abuse is significant even though the usage is low in comparison to most of the other drugs,” said Carl Linden, scientific director of toxicology at Diagnostic Laboratory Services Inc. “Higher use was still synthetic urine, which rose to 0.8 percent in the fourth quarter 2014 and remained at that higher level throughout 2015.”

Use of methamphetamine, or ice, remains much higher in the Islands than on the Mainland. Methamphetamine use dropped by 22 percent year-over-year, but remained at approximately 0.7 percent — four times the Mainland average. Methamphetamine use in the Aloha State fell from 0.9 percent in the first quarter to 0.7 percent in the third and fourth quarters.

Opiate use declined to 0.3 percent in fourth quarter 2015, from 0.4 percent in fourth quarter 2014.

Marijuana use fell 8 percent year-over-year to 2.3 percent fourth quarter, from 2.5 percent in fourth quarter of 2014, similar to the Mainland 2014 rate of 2.4 percent.

The DLS quarterly sample size includes approximately 7,000 to 10,000 drug tests.

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