St. Louis has a drug problem — not exactly shocking news. New numbers out this week underscore how much worse things are here — and how it’s impacting the economy. Job applicants in the St. Louis area are testing positive for a variety of illegal drugs at a rate that’s 20 percent higher than any other U.S. city.
That means local employers are having a tougher time filling job openings. Dr. Barry Sample is director of science and technology for Quest Diagnostics says many hopefuls test positive for amphetamine use. “In the case of amphetamine, which would include amphetamine itself and methamphetamine, positives were up 78 percent in 2011, 0.89 percent positivity rate in St. Louis versus 0.5 percent nationally,” Sample said. He adds that nationally, 1.6 percent of job applicants test positive for marijuana. In St. Louis, it’s 2.4 percent. The director of one area employment center says since adopting a new policy to test everyone who walks through the door last year, they now need twice as many applicants to find the right person for the job.