Archive for the 'drug testing' Category

Bath Salts? It’s really a drug and it’s legal!

By now most people have heard of Synthetic Cannabinoids, i.e. K-2, Spice, etc. The newest craze is Bath Salts – watch Dr. Oz report on this.

http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/deadly-new-drug-pt-1

 

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Trends Increase in Women 50 and Older for Drug-Related Suicide Attempts

Evidence of the troubling increase in prescription drug abuse has reached hospital emergency rooms, which report increasing medication-related suicide attempts among women 50 and older.

From 2005 to 2009, suicide attempts in which drugs played some role rose from 11,235 to 16,757 among women ages 50 and up, a federal survey found. The increase, driven in part by the last of the Baby Boomers entering their sixth decade, provides a new example of the toll wrought by the nation’s prescription painkiller epidemic. In 2009, 16 million Americans age 12 and up had taken a prescription pain reliever, tranquilizer, stimulant or sedative for non-medical reasons in the previous year, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

The trends involving women and suicide appeared in a Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) report dated May 12, 2011, but released Thursday to coincide with a meeting of the public-private Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention. The report, prepared by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, wasn’t limited to suicide attempts involving deliberate overdoses; its authors counted any suicide attempt in which drugs were involved, such as a woman slashing her wrists while smoking marijuana.

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Among women of all ages, emergency hospital visits for attempted suicide involving alcohol or illicit drug use remained “relatively stable” from 2005 to 2009, but increased for particular drugs. Drilling deeper into the report reveals that:

 ER visits for suicide attempts associated with women taking drugs intended to counter anxiety and insomnia rose 56 percent, from 32,426 to 50,548. Hospital visits for attempted suicides involving a class of anxiety drugs known as benzodiazepines rose 67 percent. Those involving alprazolam (Xanax) went up 74 percent. Hospital visits for suicide attempts in which the insomnia drug zolpidem (Ambien) played a role rose 158 percent, from 2,177 visits to 8,190 visits, for all women, but only were statistically significant among women 35 to 49.

 ER visits for women’s suicide attempts associated with pain relievers grew more than 30 percent, from 36,563 to 47,838. Suicide attempts involving narcotic pain relievers remained relatively stable overall, but climbed 67 percent among women who took hydrocodone (Vicodin), from 4,613 to 7,715. They soared 210 percent for suicide attempts involving oxycodone (Oxycontin), from 1,895 to 5,875. A closer analysis found statistically significant increases in ER visits for attempted suicide involving oxycodone for women 21 to 34, and attempted suicide involving hydrocodone for women 35 to 49. Those age ranges span the years during which women typically marry, have children, build careers and reach menopause, all of which can contribute to stress.

Adult addiction specialist Dr. Elizabeth F. Howell, a past president of theAmerican Society of Addiction Medicine and associate professor of clinical psychiatry at the University of Utah School of Medicine in Salt Lake City, said the report findings reflected higher overall rates of prescription abuse and addiction. They weren’t surprising, she said, because as doctors spend less time with their patients, they rely more on pharmaceutical treatments for physical and psychological problems.

“When you go to the physician, there’s not as much time to talk to the doctor. If I’m not sleeping very well, the doctor is more likely to give me a prescription, rather than talk to me for 5 minutes about sleep hygiene,” she said. “There are not as many psychiatrists as we need. Even suicidal patients have trouble getting to see a psychiatrist.”

Primary Care Doctors Prescribing Meds for Problems Psychiatrists Once Handled

As a result, “many more primary care professionals are put in the position of prescribing for anxiety and depression,” even when their patients have health insurance and the means to see a specialist. Patients initially prescribed powerful pain medications for sports injuries or after surgery may discover those drugs help them relax or sleep better and begin “self-medicating their psychiatric symptoms and not just the physical pain,” Howell said.

Howell said she suspects that women in their 50s, who tend to suffer aged-related aches and pains and have problems stemming from hormonal changes, are complaining to their doctors about “things that may not sound totally like depression or anxiety.” She said they leave with prescriptions for anti-anxiety drugs, painkillers or sleeping pills, when they might benefit more from therapy, antidepressants or in some cases, hormonal therapy.

With so many primary care doctors and specialists handing out so many powerful pills, it’s little wonder that patients end up with more medications than they need in their medicine cabinets. “If you paid for it, you tend to hang onto it,” Howell said. “And then if you become depressed or otherwise impulsively suicidal, you look at your medicine cabinet. Overdose is a very common way to try to attempt suicide.”

Although statistics show men more likely to kill themselves than women, women are more frequently treated for attempted suicide, according to 2011 figures compiled by the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2009, there were more than 215,000 ER visits by women trying to hurt themselves and women accounted for 3 out of 5 ER visits for drug-related suicide attempts.

The DAWN report said hospital emergency rooms are key places to identify at-risk women and refer them for “appropriate mental health and social services” that address underlying anxiety, depression and domestic abuse, before they can succeed in ending their lives. But it said much of that intervention could also take place by having doctors “monitor the frequency of requested refills, assess medical need, and refer to mental health services when indicated.”

“The steep rise in abuse of narcotic pain relievers by women is extremely dangerous and we are now seeing the result of this public health crisis in our emergency rooms,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, an attorney and former state mental health director. “Emergency rooms should not be the front line in our efforts to intervene.”

Given that older women represent one of the fast-growing populations, and that pain and sleep disorders increasingly are treated with prescription drugs, report concluded by saying that “expanded research on women’s aging issues and the potential use of these drugs as a method of, or influence on, suicide attempts is critical.”

Article By JANE E. ALLEN, ABC News Medical Unit

Want to Expand and Increase Your Revenue?

Partner with ExperTox

How many times have you received an inquiry and had to turn away the prospective customer because you didn’t offer the toxicology test they needed? Are you offering only basic drug and alcohol testing services to your clients and wish you had alternative options to better assist them? Do you want to broaden your menu of services to more fully support your employer, medical, legal and school clients?

ExperTox is the single source laboratory solution for community-based drug and alcohol testing businesses across the country. You don’t have to be limited to “standard” tests and services; join the toxicology laboratory known for its comprehensive offering of drug, alcohol, poison and toxin testing services. We’re different and can help you make a difference. 

To find out more about ExperTox’s tests and services and how to partner with us, contact us 281-476-4600 or email us at info@expertox.com. You may also complete and submit our Client Information Form and we’ll be happy to contact you.

Become a Collection Site for ExperTox

ExperTox provides toxicology testing services to clients across the U.S. On many occasions, we contract with drug and alcohol testing businesses to perform specimen collections or to subcontract under Requests for Proposal. 

If you are interested in being listed as a collection site for ExperTox, complete the attached Collection Site Service Agreementand return to us via fax, 281-930-8856.

Collection Site Protocols and Forms

Contracted collection sites are required to follow ExperTox’s specimen collection protocols and utilize ExperTox’s collection supplies. Below are our downloadable protocols and supply order form for your use upon approval of your collection site application: 

 Collection Site Training

Do you want to become a certified collector? 
Contact ExperTox at 281-476-4600 or info@expertox.com for more information about our Certified Collector Training Program.

ExperTox Opens New Lab

Have you ever wondered how a true forensic lab runs? If you are in the Houston area, we would like to invite you to visit us at our Open House on June 16, 2011. See more information at the link below.

Open House Invite

Our state of the art laboratory was designed by President Loretta Anderson and RGR Partnership, LTD and constructed by Tribble and Associates Contractors. The new lab space has over 3100 square feet with the option to utilize an additional 5000 square feet of off-site storage as needed.

The lab was designed with optimal work flow, employee convenience and with environmental sensitivity in mind.  There are separate departments for accessioning, specimen preparation, screening, EIA, ELISA, Heavy Metals ICP-MS, GC/MC, LC/MS, extraction hoods and analyzing (test data). In addition, there is a dedicated department for Certifying Scientist for reporting results.

 

America’s deadliest and fastest-growing drug problem

As we have talked about before, prescription drug abuse is a growing epidemic. Whether you are experiencing physical or emotional difficulty, there are pills for everything and more and more people are abusing them. Recently the feds announced new initiatives to address what has been called “America’s deadliest and fastest-growing drug problem.”

According to the CDC, US emergency department visits involving nonmedical use of opioid analgesics and benzodiazepines more than doubled from 2004 to 2008, and most unintentional poisonings in the US are due to drugs, both prescribed and illegal.

This week, the White House released their Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Plan, targeting four areas of needed improvement: education, monitoring, proper medication disposal, and enforcing elimination of improper prescribing and drug-seeking behavior.

The FDA also took initiative with a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) targeting doctors and patients.

Truly the reoccurring theme with this epidemic is education with the doctors and patients. So get educated about any prescription written for you or a loved one.

Click here for the full article from the San Francisco Chronicle.  

Bath Salts Blamed for Deaths

March 21, 2011: In the last six months, a rash of crimes and deaths have swept across the Southern states as the result of a street drug called bath salts. Joel Eisenbaum reports. Click here for the video and the full article.

http://www.click2houston.com/video/27271268/index.html

Top Signs Your Child May Be Using Drugs or Alcohol

Drugs and Alcohol

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s (NIDA) 2008 “Monitoring The Future” study on illicit drug and alcohol use by teens and youth, drug use trends that concern both parents and schools reflect:

Schools

  • 10.9% of 8th graders, 23.9% of 10th graders and 32.4% of 12th graders use marijuana
  • 15.4% of 12th graders have used prescription drugs for non-medical purposes. Vicodin continues to be abused at high levels.
  • 2.7% of 8th graders, 7.2% of 10th graders and 9.6% of 12th graders had abused Vicodin
  • 1.8% of 8th graders, 3.9% of 10th graders and 5.2% of 12th graders had abused OxyContin for nonmedical purposes at least once in the year prior to being surveyed

From peer pressure to looking for a way to deal with family and life challenges, drug and alcohol use by teens is a problem. More importantly, parents and schools may work hand-in-hand in monitoring and managing substance abuse.

What are some of the signs and symptoms of teen drug and/or alcohol use? The short list includes:

  • Behavioral issues
    • Changes in relationships with family members or friends
    • Mood changes or emotional instability
    • Withdrawn or depressed; uncommunicative
    • Periods of sleeplessness or high energy, followed by long periods of sleeping
  • Absenteeism or loss of interest in school or extracurricular activities
  • Failure to fulfill responsibilities at school or home
  • Disappearance of prescription and over-the-counter drugs, as well as alcohol or money
  • Personal appearance, habits or action changes
    • Poor hygiene and personal care
    • Track marks on arms or legs
    • Frequently breaking curfew
    • Using over-the-counter eye reddening washes and/or breath mints and gum more frequently

ExperTox supports both parents and schools through its drug and alcohol testing services designed to target those most vulnerable areas of substance abuse by youth and teens. Alternative specimen testing options allow for drug detection over varying time periods, from recent use to six months or more, including oral fluid, blood, urine, hair and nails.

These tests include:

  • Drug Tests
  • Alcohol Tests
  • Synthetic Opiates such as Hydrocodone and Oxycodone (OxyContin)

One Source…Numerous Options…Differences That Matter!

ExperTox® is a recognized forensic toxicology laboratory, combining advanced technology and science with a human heart.

We use our scientific expertise to provide our customers answers to their substance abuse, use and exposure questions.

We focus our personal character on supporting, caring for and understanding what our clients are going through as they contemplate and proceed through the testing process.

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