JAMA Network Open Study

Cross-Sectional Study Suggests that Increases in Methamphetamine-Related Overdose Deaths May Continue to Accelerate

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – January 6, 2020 – A study by Millennium Health published in JAMA Network Open reports that since 2016, rates of positive definitive urine drug test (UDT) results have increased significantly by 42.44% for methamphetamine and 75.46% for fentanyl. This is in sharp contrast to cocaine and heroin, where positivity peaked in 2016 and has since declined by 3.70% and 21.65%, respectively. The results also revealed that among UDT results positive for fentanyl, methamphetamine positivity continued to increase after 2016 by 153.51%.

January 2016 - October 2019 methamphetamine and fentanyl urine drug test resultsThe cross-sectional study included analysis of over one million unique patients from all fifty states and multiple healthcare specialties including pain management, primary care, addiction treatment, behavioral health, obstetrics and gynecology, and multi-specialty groups. This real-time analysis allows for enhanced surveillance of emerging drug use trends, providing a more timely estimation of these changes prior to the reporting of drug overdose deaths. Earlier identification of these trends also supports the development of targeted interventions to curb the impact on public health.

According to noted pain management psychologist Bob Twillman, Ph.D., FACLP of St. Luke’s Health System, Kansas City, MO and primary author of the study, “While it is encouraging that drug overdose deaths are projected to decrease for the first time since 1990, we cannot get too comfortable in thinking that our nation’s substance abuse crisis is going away. The accelerating rate with which UDT results are positive for methamphetamine is concerning for several reasons including the severe acute and long-term health consequences for the user, and that there is no specific antidote, nor any FDA-approved medications indicated for the treatment of methamphetamine use disorder.”

“Our ability to provide real-time UDT data regarding positivity for illicit and prescription drug use provides an important and valuable resource for clinicians, patients, and public health officials,” said Angela G. Huskey, Pharm.D., CPE, Chief Clinical Officer of Millennium Health. “The findings from this study may be used to help stem the alarming nationwide increase in the use of methamphetamine and rise in stimulant-involved overdose deaths. Our data has the potential to more quickly inform clinicians and public health officials of shifts in drug use trends than traditional data sources.”

The JAMA Network Open article can be accessed here.

About Millennium Health
Millennium Health is an accredited specialty laboratory with over a decade of experience delivering timely, accurate, clinically-actionable information through our nationwide medication monitoring and drug testing services. Clinical drug testing is used in various healthcare settings to obtain objective information about patients’ recent use of prescription medications and illicit drugs. Processing over a million specimens each year allows us to provide real-time analytics regarding emerging drug use trends, such as our studies published in JAMA Network Open and the Millennium Health Signals Report™.

Media Contact:
Jody Schneider, Millennium Health
(619) 917-6810