Drug Testing News BLOG

Massachusetts landed on the top spot of having the highest rate of illicit drug use in the United States, the Examiner.com reports.

The finding was based on a new study conducted by pain medication testing lab AmeritoxSM. Researchers involved in the study investigates a database containing nearly two million urine drug monitoring samples from across the country for the presence of illicit drugs, including heroin, cocaine, PCP, MDMA, and marijuana. They found that of the states that provided over 2,000 samples, Massachusetts posted an illicit drug use detection rate of 18 percent.

Alabama had the lowest rate of illicit drugs detected at 6 percent.

The result was part of a larger analysis that looked into illicit drug use as it relates to the source of medical payment, such as Medicaid, Medicare, Worker's Compensation, commercial insurance, and patient self-pay. A significant number of Medicaid patients (17.1 percent) had urine samples that showed the presence of illicit drugs, followed by self-pay patients (14.8 percent), commercial insurance holders (9.7 percent), Medicare patients (8.9 percent) and Workers' Compensation payers (8.6 percent).

The researchers also analyzed the absence of doctor-prescribed medication in urine drug monitoring samples, and they said that those whose urine samples showed an absence of prescribed medications was relatively the same no matter what form of payment was used. Almost 34 percent of all samples tested contained no evidence of a prescribed drug, a statistic that was the same across all payer types.

The study was titled "Analysis of Illicit Substance Abuse and Medication Monitoring By Payer Type." Its results were analyzed by Ameritox researchers between July 1, 2010, and June 20, 2012.

Dr. Harry Leider, the chief medical officer of Ameritox, said "Our analysis reinforces the fact that a significant problem exists across all patient types, with more than three out of 10 patients overall having the prescribed drug absent from their systems. It is critical for physicians to understand that year in and year out, regardless of who is paying for the test or what the patient's background may be, every third patient that a doctor sees is potentially non-adherent to their prescribed medication. That's why monitoring patients is so important to protecting patient health." The study proves the importance of using periodic urine testing to ensure appropriate healthcare delivery.