Posts Tagged 'expertox'

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.

What Happens if You Get Caught With K2 in Texas?

Recently the Texas Department of State Health Services has outlawed marijuana-like substances that are commonly found in K2, Spice and other synthetic marijuana products.

So what happens if you are caught with distributing or in possession of these substances?

After the DEA’s action, DSHS is required by state law to place the substances on the Texas Schedules of Controlled Substances.

Schedule 1, the most restrictive category on the Texas Schedules of Controlled Substances, is reserved for unsafe, highly abused substances with no accepted medical use. Five chemicals, JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-200, CP-47, 497 and cannabicyclohexanol that are found in K2 were placed on the Schedule.

Penalties for the manufacture, sale or possession of K2 are subject to a fine not to exceed 4,000 and or confinement in jail for a term not to exceed one year.

Since January 2010, approximately 600 calls were made to the Texas Poison Center Network related to K2 exposure. Reported adverse effects associated with use of these marijuana-like substances include chest pain, heart palpitations, agitation, drowsiness, hallucinations, nausea, vomiting, dizziness and confusion.

SOURCES:

http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/layouts/contentpage.aspx?pageid=33953&id=8589952196&terms=synthetic+marijuana

http://houstoncountylife.com/2011/04/20/state-outlaws-k2-and-other-synthetic-marijuana-products/

News Media Contact: Christine Mann, DSHS Assistant Press Officer, 512-458-7511.)

DSHS Press Office on Twitter

We’ve opened a New Lab!

Expertox has moved into a new building located at 1430 Center Street in Deer Park, TX 77536.

Our state of the art laboratory was designed by President Loretta Anderson and RGR Partnership, LTD. It was 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 workflow, 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 Scientists for reporting results.

During this time we are also upgrading our Laboratory Information System software and database. You will continue to notice changes in reporting and the website as we continue upgrading our system.

Keep on the lookout for an invitation to the Laboratory Open House in June!

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.  

Poison Prevention for your Household

On behalf of last week’s Poison Prevention Week, we have the Top 5 Tips to help keep you and your children safe from all poisons in your home.

According to the New York State Department of Health, people should keep all poisons, including medications, cosmetics, household cleaners and chemicals, plants and other poisonous substances out of the reach of children.

  1. Child Proofing/Education – Always keep medication in its original container, away from children. Remember to secure all lids after use. Never tell your children that medicine is candy. Educate your children on the dangers of misusing medication. Make sure to read labels carefully before giving medicine to your children or other family members.
  2. Dispose of Medication Properly – while you may have heard that the best solution to dispose of expired or unwanted medication is to flush it or pour it down the drain, that is not safe. Instead, crush the pills and mix them with old coffee grounds, sand or kitty litter.
  3. Storage Solutions – We recommend that you do not store medication in the bathroom or kitchen. The bathroom is warm and moist and can cause changes or disintegration of the product. Poisonous or toxic products should be kept in a locked cabinet.
  4. Do Your Research – You should be aware of household plants that are dangerous to pets, but there are also plants that are poisonous to humans. Do your research on plants in your house and keep them out of the reach of children.
  5. Garage Poisons – Anti-freeze, windshield washing fluid and other similar products should be stored in a locked cabinet. Childproof safety latches can be purchased at your local hardware store.

An unknown poison and toxin analysis tests for unknown chemicals, poisons and toxins that include but are not limited to pesticides, organic exposure chemicals, painting or cleaning products, rodent poison, volatiles and inhalants. This analysis does not test for drugs or heavy metals. No two situations are alike, so contact ExperTox for assistance if you suspect poisoning or toxic exposure.

Corporate Office and Laboratory

1803 Center Street, Suite A

Deer Park, Texas 77536 map

Phone: 281-476-4600

Fax: 281-930-8856

General Test Inquiries: info@expertox.com

Customer Service: customerservice@expertox.com

Account Billing: officemanager@expertox.com

Sales and Public Relations: mbarefoot@expertox.com

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


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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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