Signals Report Volume 4

Millennium Health Signals Report™ Volume 4 Highlights Substantial Changes in Illicit Drug Use Trends

Report Provides Recent Findings Regarding Known Contributors to Drug Overdose Deaths

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – February 9, 2022 – Drug overdose deaths in the U.S. are the highest ever recorded and are primarily driven by illicit fentanyl and methamphetamine.1

Tracking real-time trends in the drug use landscape by analyzing definitive urine drug test (UDT) results can help inform intervention efforts and potentially serve as an early warning for changes impacting overdose risk. This most recent Millennium Health Signals Report™ analyzed results from 2 million unique patient urine specimens collected in health care specialties through December 2021.

Between 2019 and 2021, findings showed: 

  • Fentanyl positivity increased in all U.S. census divisions, particularly in the West, where positivity increased 427% in the Pacific division
  • Methamphetamine positivity increased in all but one census division (Pacific), led by a 134% increase in New England
  • Cocaine positivity increased in all U.S. census divisions, led by a 48% increase in the Mid-Atlantic
  • Fentanyl and methamphetamine co-positivity increased across the country, with the highest percent changes including a stunning 571% increase in the Pacific census division, 471% in the West South Central division, and 306% in the Mountain division

The report also includes an analysis of the cannabis landscape and found that in 2021, about 30% of patient specimens were positive for marijuana. Additionally, between 2015 and 2021, the UDT positivity rate for marijuana increased 32% nationally.

“The drug test results in the Millennium Health database can be aggregated and employed to aid those involved in the fight against illicit drug use and its multiple harms, including the crisis of drug overdose deaths that has been affecting our country,” says Steven Passik, PhD, VP, Scientific Affairs and Head of Clinical Data Programs. “It is of the utmost importance now to use all available data sources, including definitive urine drug tests, to track substance use trends, considering drug overdose deaths are at the highest level ever recorded. This information, including trends over time, plus geographic and demographic factors impacting use, can better influence interventions across the continuum of care.”

A copy of the full report can be accessed here.

About Millennium Health

Millennium Health is an accredited specialty laboratory providing medication monitoring via definitive urine and oral fluid drug tests to support improved clinical decision-making as part of treatment for millions of Americans with chronic pain, mental illness, substance use disorders, and other health conditions. Drug testing is used to obtain objective information about patients’ recent use of prescription medications and/or illicit drugs and helps monitor the effectiveness of treatment plans. We also conduct real-time tracking of emerging drug use trends to help researchers, public health officials, and policymakers address the significant increase in drug overdose deaths.

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

1. Provisional Drug Overdose Death Counts. National Center for Health Statistics. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site. Accessed January 26, 2022.