In the blog: the latest expert perspective on drug misuse in America

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Medication-assisted treatment for opiod use disorder (OUD)

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder (OUD) has emerged as a key strategy for combatting the opioid epidemic. Controlled research has shown it to be more effective than abstinence programs in treating patients with the disorder (Connery, 2015). The ability of physicians and other healthcare professionals to use MAT…

Oct 29, 2019
 
 

Health Trends™ Drug Misuse in America 2019: Physician Perspectives and Diagnostic Insights on the Evolving Drug Crisis now available!

Drug Misuse in America 2019: Physician Perspectives and Diagnostic Insights on the Evolving Drug Crisis, a Quest Diagnostics Health Trends™ report, presents findings from analysis of more than 4.4 million de-identified aggregated clinical drug monitoring tests performed by Quest Diagnostics for patients from all 50 states and District of Columbia…

Oct 18, 2019
 
 

New Case Study now available: When considering Opioid therapy—the importance of baseline drug testing for amphetamines and methamphetamines

When following CDC guidelines and ordering baseline drug testing prior to initiating opioid therapy, it can be challenging to identify potential amphetamine and methamphetamine misuse. This case study illustrates some steps that could be appropriate to take to better understand your patient’s potential use or misuse of these two drugs.

Oct 11, 2019
 
 

Attitudes, and the Language that Reflects Them, Take Their Toll on Patients

In-depth interviews with patients with substance use disorder reveal the toll taken by stigma on patients’ experience in the healthcare system, according to a new study. The study included 48 individuals across Ontario, Canada, who were taking opioids for chronic pain (n=28) or other reasons (n=31). The authors identified 3…

Aug 06, 2019
 
 

For Pregnant Women, Early Screening and Medication-Assisted Therapy Provide the Best Outcomes for Opioid Use Disorder, for Both Mothers and Infants

Pregnant women should be screened for opioid use disorder (OUD) and receive medication- assisted therapy (MAT) instead of withdrawal, according to recommendations from the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG). The Committee Opinion was published in August, 2017 in collaboration with the American Society of Addiction Medicine.…

Jul 30, 2019
 
 

What are the Signs of Opioid Use Disorder? What Every Healthcare Provider Should Watch For

Do you know the signs of opioid use disorder? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers a Continuing Medical Education Module on this topic, as part of its effort to reduce the harms from use of opioids and other drugs. You can get started by going to

Jul 15, 2019
 
 

Payers Have an Important Role to Play in Reducing Opioid Harm

Health insurance companies can play a central role in limiting the harm of opioids, according to a 2017 white paper by the Healthcare Fraud Prevention Partnership (HFPP). In “Healthcare Payer Strategies to Reduce the Harms of Opioids,” the HFPP encourages appropriate care and prescribing practices for patients; identifying and eliminating…

Jun 26, 2019
 
 

The Importance of Definitive Drug Testing: Pill Shaving Case Study

The results from Dylan’s drug test are back, and they show presence of an opioid-consistent with the oxycodone you’ve prescribed him. No problem, right?

Wrong.

Detecting the parent drug won’t rule out the possibility that Dylan is “pill shaving” to pass the test, while diverting the…

Jun 11, 2019
 
 

How the Words We Use Can Create, or Avoid, Stigma for the Person with Substance Use Disorder

“Language matters,” says Shawn Ryan, MD, chief medical officer at BrightView Health in Cincinnati, Ohio. “We know that patients can suffer under the stigma of inappropriate language” when referring to their use of opioids and other drugs. By changing that language, Dr. Ryan says, healthcare practitioners can deliver more compassionate…

May 28, 2019
 
 

AMA President Highlights Reduction in Stigma to Help End Opioid Crisis

Reducing stigma is a key part of fighting the opioid crisis, according to Patrice Harris, MD, President of the American Medical Association and Chair of the AMA’s Opioid Task Force.

“We must all confront the intangible and often devastating effects of stigma,” she said. “The key to…

May 21, 2019
 
 

Benzodiazepines: Primary Care’s New Drug Problem

Dr. Jeff Gudin reflects on the impact of Benzodiazepines:

Heightened awareness of the dangers of prescription opioids has prompted a movement to limit use of opioid therapies for patients with acute or chronic pain. Primary care practitioners stand on the front lines of this care shift, and many are curtailing…

Apr 30, 2019
 
 

Don’t Withhold Medication-assisted Therapy from Benzodiazepine Users, FDA says

The US Food and Drug Administration has updated its recommendationson co-prescribing benzodiazepines with medication-assisted therapy treatment, stating that buprenorphine and methadone “should not be withheld from patients taking benzodiazepines or other drugs that depress the central nervous system.” While the combination of benzodiazepines or other CNS depressants with…

Apr 03, 2019
 
 

How Well Are Physicians Complying with CDC Opioid Prescribing Recommendations?

A report by the insurance industry group AHIP (America’s Health Insurance Plans) suggests that physicians still have a way to go to be in compliance with the 2016 opioid prescribing and monitoring recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And when it comes to…

Mar 18, 2019
 
 

Presumptive Drug Testing: Rapid Results for Your Patient

Presumptive drug testing can give you rapid results that can be used to help improve patient care. But whether a presumptive test is right for your patient depends on many factors, according to Dr. Leland McClure, Director, Medical Science Liaison, Medical Affairs at Quest Diagnostics, and understanding the complexities of…

Mar 06, 2019
 
 

Opioid use and lower rates of work go hand-in-hand

Labor force participation among men of prime working age is lowest in areas where prescription opioid use is highest, according to a 2017 analysis by Alan Krueger, PhD, of Princeton University and the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The participation rate for men ages 25 to 54, which…

Feb 22, 2019
 
 

Come see us at the 3rd Opioid Management Summit

Quest Diagnostics ​is proud to be an executive partner of the 3rd Opioid Management Summit February 26-27, 2019 in Washington, DC.

Join us on February 26 at 10:30 AM as we present: Patterns of Drug Misuse in America and Reducing Risks…

Feb 12, 2019
 
 

Access to medication-assisted treatment will increase under the new opioid bill

In October 2018, the president signed the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act,which addresses multiple aspects of the opioid crisis. Several provisions in the bill are slated to increase access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT), in which buprenorphine or another medication is part of the treatment plan for substance…

Jan 31, 2019
 
 

Led by Synthetic Opioids, Drug Overdose Deaths Climbed Through 2017. Have They Reached a Plateau?

Data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that deaths due to drug overdoses climbed from 2015 through the end of 2017, but preliminary data suggest the annual death rate may have reached a plateau.

According to the data, total drug overdose deaths were approximately…

Jan 17, 2019
 
 

As a Prescriber, What is Your Role in Preventing Prescription Drug Diversion?

Diversion of prescription medications is a major part of the epidemic of substance abuse in the United States. Clinicians who prescribe opioids and other controlled substances have an important role to play in preventing drug diversion, through maintaining good records and secure prescription pads, communicating with patients and other prescribers,…

Jan 08, 2019
 
 

House and Senate Prepare to Pass a Bipartisan Bill to Fight the Opioid Crisis

In late September 2018, the US House and Senate agreed on a compromise bill to address multiple aspects of the opioid crisis. Among the key provisions in the bill are ones to:

· Enhance access to non-opioid pain treatment options provided by Medicaid.

· Improve data sharing for…

Dec 20, 2018
 
 

Know your opioids

How does oxycodone differ from hydrocodone? How powerful is fentanyl compared to morphine? A working knowledge of opioids is important for clinicians who treat patients with chronic pain. Opioids include:

Morphine, derived from secretions of the poppy plant. The strength of other opioids is usually given as “morphine equivalents,” based…

Dec 17, 2018
 
 

Quest Diagnostic’s Health Trends Map Provides state-level Information on Drug Use and Misuse in America

Where are the hotspots for drug misuse in America? And what are the trends in your state? Quest Diagnostics has produced an interactive map that provides state-by-state information that can guide your thinking on problems in your area.

The map details state-level data on test results that are…

Nov 29, 2018
 
 

New to Prescribing Opioids? What You Need to Know to Keep Your Patients Safe

For patients with chronic pain, opioid medications can offer an important treatment option. If you are a clinician who is new to prescribing opioids, there are several important resources and best practices that can help keep your patients safe and properly treated while receiving opioids.

Centers for Disease Control Guideline…

Oct 26, 2018
 
 

Opioid epidemic’s 1-year cost: $504 Billion

The Council of Economic Advisors says that the cost of the nation’s opioid epidemic in 2015 was $504 billion, or 2.8% of that year’s Gross Domestic Product. “This estimate dwarfs estimates from previous studies,” the Council states in its February 2018 CEA Annual Report. The Council is an…

Oct 16, 2018
 
 

Buprenorphine provider gap in Midwest and Mid-Atlantic

The number of approved providers of buprenorphine per opioid overdose death is lower than average in 11 states in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic, according to an analysis by the health policy consulting group Avalere. Buprenorphine is used to treat opiate use disorder, and may be prescribed by nurse practitioners and…

Sep 20, 2018
 
 

2018 Quest Diagnostics Health Trends™ report now available

Drug Misuse in America 2018, a Quest Diagnostics Health Trends™ report, presents findings from analysis of more than 3.9 million de-identified aggregated clinical drug monitoring tests performed by Quest Diagnostics for patients in all 50 states and D.C. between 2011 and 2017. To our knowledge, this report is the largest…

Sep 07, 2018
 
 

Attending PAINWeek® in Las Vegas?

Visit us at Booth 311 and get a sneak peek at our Health Trends™: Drug Misuse in America 2018 report

Health Trends™: Drug Misuse in America 2018, a Quest Diagnostics report, presents findings from analysis of more than 3.9 million de-identified aggregated clinical drug monitoring tests performed by Quest Diagnostics…

Aug 24, 2018
 
 

How can Prescription Drug Monitoring help identify abuse?

Chronic pain affects tens of millions of people in the United States, and according to the Centers for Disease Control, in 2016, prescribers wrote 66.5 opioid and 25.2 sedative prescriptions for every 100 Americans. “These are sobering statistics,” says F. Leland McClure, PhD, MSci., F-ABFT, director,…

Aug 24, 2018
 
 

Come see us at the Opioid Management Congress - August 13-14, 2018

​Quest Diagnostics is pleased to sponsor the August 13-14, 2018 Opioid Management Congress in Nashville, TN. Use promo code: QUEST for an early registration discount, and join us for our lunch presentation on August 13, 2018:

Clinical Drug Monitoring & Analytics as an Objective…

Jun 28, 2018
 
 

Can mandatory consultation of a state PDMP reduce overdose morbidity? Maybe.

Every state now has a prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) in place to record prescriptions of controlled substances, but they vary widely in the information they collect and whether and how physicians must consult the database. Beginning in 2013, New York instituted mandatory consultation for physicians: before they prescribe an…

Nov 15, 2017
 
 

Opioids and Benzodiazepines: A Dangerous, and Common, Combination

More than a quarter of patients being tested for either prescribed opioids or prescribed benzodiazepines tested positive for both drugs, according to a new study in the Journal of Addiction Medicine.

“Our findings far exceed previous estimates of combining opiates and benzodiazepines based on prescribing databases alone, suggesting existing prescription…

Nov 13, 2017
 
 

Number of Opioids Prescribed Has Fallen Since 2010

The quantity of opioids prescribed in the United States peaked in 2010 and has been falling since, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But the quantity prescribed in 2015, the last year for which comprehensive data are available, is still more than…

Nov 10, 2017
 
 

States Vary Widely in What They Collect, from Whom, and When, for their PDMPs

It is clear that the prescription opioid epidemic is a nationwide problem, but for now, one of the most important weapons against it is being wielded inconsistently from state to state. Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs) are state-run electronic databases of prescribing and dispensing information from healthcare providers and pharmacies.…

Sep 05, 2017
 
 

Updated Guidelines from the Federation of State Medical Boards on Prescribing and Testing for Opioids

The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) recommends that urine drug testing be used as part of a comprehensive management strategy for patients receiving prescription opioids for chronic pain.

“Periodic and unannounced drug testing (including chromatography) are useful in monitoring adherence to the treatment plan, as well as in…

Aug 14, 2017
 
 

The Role of Urine Drug Testing in Pain Management

by Amanda J. Jenkins, Ph.D.

Scientific Director, Toxicology

Opioids and other medications (non-opioid analgesics, benzodiazepines, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, muscle relaxants) are prescribed to treat chronic pain of non-cancer origin.1

Ongoing monitoring of these patients is important to ensure safe and effective therapy. Drug testing is one tool utilized to identify…

Jul 14, 2017
 
 

What a PDM Program Can Offer Your Practice

For patients with chronic pain, opioids may offer important relief from suffering and help support activities of daily living. At the same time, if they are not used according to your prescription, opioids can do great harm. A prescription drug monitoring (PDM) program can help you maintain the maximum benefit…

Jul 12, 2017
 
 

Maine’s Diversion Alert Program Aids Physician Decision-Making

Physicians must take into account many factors when making decisions about opioid prescriptions, including the risk that the individual patient may divert prescription medications for illegal use. To aid physician decision-making, the state of Maine in 2013 instituted its Diversion Alert program, a program that gives physicians access to…

Jul 05, 2017
 
 

Do You Know the CDC Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids and Monitoring Their Use?

In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control published an updated guideline for primary care clinicians who are prescribing opioids for chronic pain (outside of active cancer treatment, palliative care, and end-of-life care). It’s an extensive study, with a thorough review of the evidence. But the main message is contained in…

Jul 05, 2017