Urine Tests Reveal High Rate of Prescription Drug Misuse

Urine Tests Reveal High Rate of Prescription Drug Misuse

The prescription drug epidemic has put a lot of pressure on doctors for their role in overprescribing addictive painkillers. In an effort to curb abuse, some medical practitioners are scrutinizing the use of such drugs to ensure they are being taken as intended.

It’s one measure used to combat addiction and the devastation that this problem is wreaking on our nation’s welfare.

As part of a recent study, Quest Diagnostics, a major U.S. laboratory chain, tested 76,000 urine analyses to determine if certain prescribed drugs were being ingested per doctor instructions.

Namely, the tests were used to screen for painkillers, amphetamines such as Adderall, and a class of drugs that affect the central nervous system. Research revealed that, of all samples taken last year, about 63 percent were inconsistent with prescribed use.

One of the biggest concerns was that 60 percent of inconsistencies stemmed from individuals taking drugs other than what was prescribed them. It is unknown whether these drugs were disclosed to doctors upon the original consultation. What is clear, however, is that some of the drugs when used together could be toxic.

The remaining group had drug tests that came back completely clean, suggesting that these patients couldn’t afford the prescribed medications or chose not to have the prescription filled – at least for themselves.

All groups of drugs showed a proportionate percent of inconsistent use. However, when patients were analyzed during follow-up appointments one month later, researchers noted that rates of misuse dropped from 63 percent to 55percent.

The study was limited in that results could have been skewed as doctors were possibly more inclined to test those who they already believed might be candidates for abuse.

Regardless, some organizations such as the state of Washington’s Group Health Cooperative continue to support urine analysis as a means to control the abuse of painkillers and stop the spread of the prescription drug epidemic.

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