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Hawai‘i Marijuana, Opiate Use Near Record High

July 5, 2016, 9:00 AM HST
* Updated July 5, 9:28 AM
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Big Island Now stock photo. June 2012.

Marijuana and opiate usage in Hawai‘i have both increased in the first quarter of 2016.

Marijuana use increased from the first quarter 2016 from 2.4% to 2.9% in the second quarter, according to a workplace drug-use report from Diagnostic Laboratory Services Inc.

Opiate use also rose from the same quarter last year, showing a 50% increase from .2% in 2015 to .4% in 2016.

“Marijuana use is spiking,” said Carl Linden, scientific director of toxicology at the laboratory. “Our workforce drug tests show marijuana usage rose 32% from the same quarter last year—from 2.2% to 2.9%. It’s also the highest rate of positives we’ve seen since second quarter 2013.”

Amphetamine use was down 10% year over year and flat at .8 percent from the first to second quarter of 2016.


Results were unchanged year over year for both cocaine at .4% and synthetic urine use at .9%.


Synthetic urine results at .9%were the same for the previous quarter, and cocaine was up from .3 percent first quarter 2016 to .4% second quarter 2016.

DLS’ quarterly sample size typically includes between 7,000 to 10,000 drug tests.

In 2012, Hawai‘i banned several categories of “legal” synthetic drugs, such as bath salts, but they cannot be tested for in workplace drug testing, according to federal and state law. However, if a physician orders it, tests for synthetic drugs can be performed.


DLS 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 Hawai‘i. The company employs more than 600 people and has locations throughout Hawai‘i, Saipan and Guam.

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