Helping you stay current in drug monitoring


Update from the CDC: Gabapentin involvement in overdose deaths

Gabapentin likely contributed to 5% of deaths from overdose with any substance in 2019 to 2020, according to a new study.  

Jun 28 2022

Vaccines for fentanyl analogs are in development

Experimental vaccines may provide protection against some fentanyl analogs, according to a new study in rats. 

Jun 28 2022

Xylazine use is spreading, often with fentanyl

The veterinary tranquilizer xylazine is increasingly being found in overdose deaths, especially in Philadelphia and nearby locales, according to a new report. 

Jun 28 2022

Better guidelines could help reduce racial disparities in clinical drug testing, physicians say

Sixty-nine percent of physicians report needing more tools to be able to address racial/ethnic disparities in prescription drug management, according to the 2021 Quest Health Trends® Report, the latest in a series of reports designed to bring objective data to the understanding of the nation’s healthcare challenges. 

Feb 24 2022

Delta-8-THC: A new synthetic cannabinoid poses problems for testing

In states where recreational cannabis products are still illegal, authorities are seeing a large increase in sales of products containing delta-8-THC. “Delta-8” is a chemical cousin of delta-9-THC, the main cannabinoid responsible for the euphoria of marijuana. Delta-8 is less potent than delta-9, but interacts with the same brain receptors and can produce a “high.” Unfortunately, delta-8 interferes with testing for delta-9 in both presumptive and definitive urine drug tests, according to Quest Diagnostics Medical Science Liaison, Jack Kain, PharmD.

Jul 12 2021

DEA Plans to Collect Nationwide Prescription Data

The United States Drug Enforcement Administration has solicited bids from software contractors for a new “Pharmacy Prescription Data” system that would collect deidentified data on at least 85% of all Schedule II through V prescriptions across the US, according to a request for proposal issued September 2, 2020.

Feb 19 2021

DEA Makes Changes to Prescribing Rules During Pandemic

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has made several important changes to the rules that govern prescription of controlled substances, in response to the public health emergency posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jan 07 2021

Pandemic Brings Drop in Testing, Increase in Illicit Drugs

Clinical drug testing fell by over 50% in spring of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new study from Quest Diagnostics®. At the same time, the proportion of samples testing positive for dangerous illicit drugs and drug combinations rose.

Dec 31 2020

Drugs with Highest Rates of Positivity in the Workforce

In mandated tests of employees in safety-sensitive jobs, marijuana had the highest rate of drug positivity, followed by opioids and amphetamines, according to the 2020 Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ report. The report includes data from over 2.4 million tests from January to December 2019 of workers in safety-sensitive positions undergoing federally mandated drug tests. These include workers in the airline, transportation, and marine industries, among others.

Dec 28 2020

Drug Test Positivity Rate Continues to Climb

The rate of drug test positivity in the workforce hit a 16-year high in 2019, according to data from the annual Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ report. Data for the report are drawn from nearly 9 million urine drug tests performed during the year by Quest, the world’s leading provider of diagnostic information services. Overall, 4.5% of samples tested indicated use of an illicit drug.

Nov 23 2020

Quest Drug Monitoring Offers New Specimen Collection Options

New options for Specimen Collection from Quest Diagnostics Drug Monitoring. Clinical Drug Monitoring is a critical tool to measure and assess prescription compliance and help identify drug misuse. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing, many patients are not getting to their physicians’ offices for the drug monitoring testing they need.

Jun 29 2020

The Prevalence and Danger of Drug Mixing

Drug Mixing: The Most Prevalent, and Dangerous, Form of Drug Misuse. Is your patient mixing prescribed medications with non-prescribed or illicit drugs? Most clinicians underestimate the likelihood that their patients are engaging in this most-prevalent type of prescription drug misuse. But what they don’t know could hurt their patients.

May 06 2020

Importance of Baseline Drug Testing When Considering Opioid Therapy

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

The Importance of Definitive Drug Testing

Pill shaving refers to the practice of scraping or crushing part of a pill to dissolve it in a urine sample. What can you do to rule out pill shaving?

Jun 11 2019

Prescriber's Role in Preventing Prescription Drug Diversion

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, and monitoring compliance with urine drug testing.

Jan 08 2019

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

In late September 2018, the US House and Senate agreed on a compromise bill to address multiple aspects of the opioid crisis.

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.

Dec 17 2018

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.

Nov 29 2018

Keeping Patients Safe When Prescribing Opioids

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.

Oct 26 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.

Sep 20 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.

Aug 24 2018

Can Mandatory Consultation of State PDMP Reduce Overdose Morbidity?

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.

Nov 15 2017

Opioids and Benzodiazepines Present Dangerous 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.

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 three times as high as it was in 1999.

Nov 10 2017

States Vary Widely in PDMP Collection Processes

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 on Opioid Prescriptions and Testing

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.

Aug 14 2017

The Role of Urine Drug Testing in Pain Management

Opioids and other medications (non-opioid analgesics, benzodiazepines, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, muscle relaxants) are prescribed to treat chronic pain of non-cancer origin. Ongoing monitoring of these patients is important to ensure safe and effective therapy.

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.

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 state records of arrests or summons for prescription or illegal drug-related crimes. Physicians can view data from the previous 11 months, and can receive monthly updates.

Jul 05 2017

CDC Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids and Monitoring 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 12 key points, summarized here.

Jul 05 2017