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Decline in Prescription Drug Misuse More than Twice as High in States with Broad Drug Abuse Prevention Programs, New Quest Diagnostics Health Trends Study Finds
Date:7/16/2014

pany's clinical laboratories between 2011 and 2013. The testing was performed in connection with the company's prescription drug monitoring services. These services aid clinicians in monitoring patients for appropriate use of up to 26 commonly abused prescription medications, such as opioids and sedatives, and illicit drugs, such as marijuana and cocaine.

The tests report if a patient's results are consistent or inconsistent with appropriate physician-prescribed medication use. Consistent results indicate that only the drug or drugs prescribed for the patient were detected. Inconsistent results suggest a patient has misused one or more drugs. Forms of misuse include combining a prescribed drug with other non-prescribed drugs, which can lead to dangerous drug combinations; not taking a prescribed drug, which contributes to healthcare waste and failed treatment; and using other drugs, which indicates illicit drug use without a clinician's oversight.

Key findings from the study:

  • All patients are at risk of prescription misuse. The high rate of prescription medication misuse (55% inconsistent) was observed across all age groups and in both genders, as well as across different types of health plans (Medicaid, Medicare and private payer). The 8 percentage point decrease in the inconsistency rate from 2011 to 2013 suggests that physicians may be doing a better job communicating about the importance of adherence to a prescription drug regimen, that patients are exercising better prescription drug compliance, a broader representation of patients tested for drug use, or a combination of the three.
  • Adolescents experienced the greatest gains in appropriate drug use. Inconsistency rates for patients ages 10-17 decreased from 70% in 2011 to 57% in 2013, an improvement of 13 percentage points. Patients ages 64 years and olde
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SOURCE Quest Diagnostics
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