Signals Report Vol. 3

Millennium Health Signals Report™ Analyzes  Drug Use Trends Amid the Pandemic

Latest Report Demonstrates National, Regional, and State-Specific Drug Use Patterns

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – February 24, 2021 – Reports of increased drug overdoses and drug overdose deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic are highlighting an increased need for innovative approaches to substance use disorder prevention and treatment.

The Millennium Health Signals Report Volume 3: The COVID-19 Connection: Tracking 2020 Trends in Drug Use provides timely information to help these efforts. Through analysis of our proprietary database of definitive drug test results, this report identifies national, regional, and state trends in drug positivity rates through December 2020, including an examination of drug use trends after the COVID-19 pandemic was declared a national emergency. The findings showed:

  • During COVID-19:
    • Non-prescribed fentanyl and methamphetamine increased 78% and 29%, respectively
    • Detection of the potent fentanyl analogue, carfentanil, dropped sharply
    • Non-prescribed tramadol increased 24%, primarily in Tennessee, Ohio, and Kentucky
    • Non-prescribed hydrocodone, oxycodone, and gabapentin remained essentially unchanged
  • In 2020, positivity for other substances, especially illicit fentanyl, was common in a population prescribed methadone, with rates higher in those negative for their prescribed methadone

Addiction specialist Michael Parr, MD, FASAM stated, “The year 2020 marked a humanitarian crisis in the United States in more ways than one. We’re already seeing an emergence of patients needing treatment for substance use disorders due to the stressors of the pandemic, and we may see more as the pandemic continues. Ongoing information about which drugs are being used in a real-time fashion helps clinicians monitor and treat patients, as well as direct efforts by those in the public health sphere, including education, prevention, and harm reduction.”

Millennium Health Chief Clinical Officer Angela G. Huskey, PharmD, CPE, said, “This innovative report is another example of our ongoing commitment to report on drug use trends during the pandemic and continue our collaborative efforts with clinicians, policy makers, and public health agencies to positively impact the lives of patients, their families, and communities.”

A copy of the full report 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 and our most recent Millennium Health Signals Report.

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