SAN DIEGO, Calif. – May 1, 2019 – A study published in JAMA Network Open reports that between January 2013 and September 2018, the presence of non-prescribed fentanyl among urine drug tests also positive for cocaine or methamphetamine rose 1850% and 798% respectively. This analysis provides the public with additional insight into trending increases in reported cocaine- and methamphetamine-related overdoses. Cocaine and methamphetamine related drug overdose deaths are rising sharply. These data suggest the increase may be related to the simultaneous presence of fentanyl, either added directly to the drug supply or used concomitantly.
The cross-sectional study included analysis of one million urine drug test results submitted by healthcare professionals where medically necessary urine drug tests were ordered as part of routine care in many areas of medicine, including pain management, primary care, addiction treatment, behavioral health, obstetrics and gynecology, and multi-specialty groups. The results revealed positive results for cocaine or methamphetamine with non-prescribed fentanyl across all treatment specialties, suggesting use is possible in many care settings.
According to Bob Twillman, Ph.D., FACLP, and co-author of the study, “The increasingly common concurrent use of fentanyl with cocaine or methamphetamine may help explain the recent sharp increases in overdose deaths involving stimulants. It is still undetermined if these combinations are created by dealers or users, and if by users, if this simply reflects a shift from heroin to fentanyl as the opioid being used. Clinicians and patients both should be aware of the potential consequences of fentanyl exposure, knowingly or unknowingly, and take the necessary steps to maximize patient safety.”
“Every year Millennium Health processes hundreds of thousands of samples submitted by clinicians from all fifty states for medication monitoring and drug testing services,” said Angela G. Huskey, PharmD, CPE, Chief Clinical Officer of Millennium Health. “We are focused on using our clinical and analytic capabilities as an aid in the identification of emerging trends in drug use at the national, regional, and local levels to benefit our clinicians, policy makers, public healthcare agencies, and most importantly the patients we serve.”
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. Drug testing is used by substance use disorder and pain management providers as well as many other specialties, to obtain objective information about patients’ recent use of prescription medications and/or illicit drugs and helps monitor the effectiveness of treatment plans. Processing over a million patient specimens each year allows us to provide meaningful insights into emerging drug use trends.
Jody Schneider, Millennium Health