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

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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 of its kind to provide current insights into prescription and illicit drug use and misuse in the United States based on laboratory insights.

In this report, we reveal evolving patterns in drug misuse, specifically:

The rate of drug misuse remained constant, as it has for several years. The misuse rate in 2017 was 52 percent, unchanged from 2016. This suggests improvements in appropriate drug use have plateaued and misuse rates remain at high levels.

Despite the unchanged rate, the nature of the drug misuse epidemic is shifting. Misuse of some drugs shows signs of decline in certain populations, but explosive growth in others. Non-prescribed fentanyl and heroin are particular threats.

Drug mixing, a contributing factor to overdose deaths, is the most frequent form of misuse observed in the Quest data, and it shows no signs of abating. The highly dangerous combination of opioids and benzodiazepines is frequently found in patients tested in primary care and pain management settings.

Gabapentin has emerged as a potential concern, with dramatic increases in misuse observed in just one year.

The report is available for download by clicking here.