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The unabated epidemic of opioid and synthetic opioid addiction has moved President Trump to declare it a national public health emergency. It’s also moving occupational health providers, including some urgent care operators, to look at updating the drug screens they give as part of their pre-employment examinations. Tennessee Occupational Health, for one, reports that as much as 80% of positive drug tests they see show evidence of opiates. As recently as 5 years, ago, marijuana was the number-one source of positive screens. However, prescription pain medications are not included in the current five-panel test administered by the Department of Transportation; codeine, heroin, and morphine are the only ones included. They have proposed adding hydrocodone, hydromorphone oxymorphone, and oxycodone, but there’s been no movement on that proposal yet. Meanwhile, a new report published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly just last week reveals that more than half of the 5,152 people in 10 states who died of opioid overdoses during the second half of 2016 tested positive for fentanyl.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that this is the first report on data from the State Unintentional Drug Overdose Reporting System, which tracks fatal opioid overdoses and is a component of CDC’s Enhanced State Opioid Overdose Surveillance program. (JUCM will offer an in-depth look at how urgent care can help opioid addicts start on the road to recover in our November cover story.)

Expect Changes to Drug Panels in Response to Opioid Crisis
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