JAMA Study with OSU

Millennium Health and Ohio State University Researchers Work to Save Lives Amid the Substance Use Crisis with Study Published in JAMA Network Open

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – June 8, 2022 – A JAMA Network Open study, led by Millennium Health researchers, and co-authored by Rebecca Jackson, MD and Soledad Fernandez, PhD, of The Ohio State University College of Medicine, demonstrates a strong correlation between urine drug test (UDT) results and drug overdose deaths presenting a new opportunity in the fight against our nation’s substance use crisis.

“Drug overdose deaths are higher than ever before. In this first-ever study, we were able to demonstrate and characterize the relationships between UDT positivity rates for drugs of significant concern and overdose mortality using national-, state-, and county-level data,” said Penn Whitley, Sr. Director, Bioinformatics, Millennium Health. “The timeliness of UDT results, combined with having demonstrated these correlations, allows us to now explore methods for timely prediction of overdose mortality signals or “hotspots” utilizing our UDT results versus traditional tracking methods.”

This JAMA Network Open study included 500,000 unique patient specimens collected from substance use disorder treatment facilities in all 50 U.S. states between 2013 and 2020. The strongest correlations between UDT results and overdose deaths were observed for illicit fentanyl and methamphetamine. The correlation coefficients (rho) were 0.96 for both; an almost perfect correlation (i.e., rho = 1.0). Additionally, all drug categories were significantly and strongly correlated with overdose deaths when detected together with illicit fentanyl (rho values ranged from 0.78 to 0.98).

“This work will support the development of data-driven approaches that incorporate UDT results to inform agile, targeted public health surveillance efforts to reduce overdose deaths at a community, state, or national level,” added Rebecca Jackson, MD, Department of Internal Medicine/Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism in The Ohio State College of Medicine.

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 hundreds of thousands of specimens each year allows us to provide real-time analytics regarding emerging drug use trends, such as our studies published in JAMA and our most recent Millennium Health Signals Report™.

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