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New Analysis Shows Illicit Drug Use May Vary by Payer Type: Detection Rates as High as 17 Percent

BALTIMORE, Sept. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- AmeritoxSM, the nation's leader in Pain Medication Monitoring Solutions®, today announced the presentation of a scientific poster titled "Analysis of Illicit Substance Abuse and Medication Monitoring By Payer Type" at PAINWeek, the nation's largest pain conference for frontline practitioners.  Analysis of nearly two million urine drug monitoring (UDM) samples revealed that illicit substance presence varies widely by payer type (commercial insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, patient self-pay, and Workers' Compensation), while the absence of clinician-prescribed medications – another indicator of potential non-adherence – is common across all payer types.

"Until now, few studies have examined UDM results from the perspective of who is paying for the test – but as with other studies looking at age, gender, and socio-economic background, 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," said Dr. Harry Leider, chief medical officer of Ameritox.  "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 retrospective review was conducted utilizing a database of nearly two million urine drug samples submitted to Ameritox between July 1, 2010 and June 30, 2012.  Researchers showed that the presence of illicit drugs – including marijuana, cocaine, heroin, PCP and/or MDA/MDEA/MDMA – was highest among patients with Medicaid as their primary payer (17.1%), followed by "self-pay" patients (14.8%), commercial insurance (9.7%), Medicare (8.9%), and Workers' Compensation (8.6%).

Further, across all payer types, more than one in three samples (34%) contained no evidence of a prescribed controlled or pain-related medication – indicating that patients may not be getting the full pain relief benefit needed, or may be misusing or diverting their pain medication. 

"In the battle against illicit drug use, physicians and law-enforcement agencies serve as the front line in efforts to protect patients and ensure public safety.  The more information physicians have to inform clinical decisions when treating these complex patients with chronic pain, the better," Dr. Leider said. "Drug monitoring companies like Ameritox possess a wealth of data and can contribute great knowledge to support both clinicians and law-enforcement agencies as they work to protect patient well-being and public safety."

In this study, rates of illicit drug use and the presence/absence of prescribed medication were also analyzed by state.  In states with greater than 2,000 samples available for analysis, Alabama had the lowest rate of illicit drugs (6%), while Massachusetts had the highest (18%).  "The results stratified by state again reinforce the idea that we can't stereotype patients -- testing is important for everyone," added Leider.

Along with Lisa Burke, Ph.D., M.B.A., R.N., the "Analysis of Illicit Substance Abuse and Medication Monitoring By Payer Type" poster was co-authored by Eric Dawson, Pharm.D.; Michael DeGeorge, Pharm.D.; Pat Woster, Pharm.D; and Kathryn Bronstein, Ph.D., R.N.

A 2009 study from Ameritox found that drug misuse was very common across all age and demographic groups. The results of that study can be found at

About Ameritox
Ameritox is the nation's leader in Pain Medication Monitoring Solutions®, offering specialized laboratory testing and reporting services.  Ameritox's expertise and innovative science provide physicians with insights and support to enhance and optimize the care of chronic pain patients.  Ameritox offers the most thorough pain medication monitoring lab process – Rx GuardianSMwith Rx Guardian CDSM, the only pain medication monitoring process with a proprietary normalization algorithm and a reference database of pain patients clinically assessed for adherence.  Patient results are compared against this database, helping physicians assess whether patients are taking their pain medications correctly.  Monitoring through prescription drug testing helps physicians make more informed clinical decisions and manage the risks and complexities associated with prescribing pain medications. Ameritox is headquartered in Baltimore, Md. with laboratory facilities in Midland, Texas and Greensboro, N.C.  Ameritox can be found online at, on Twitter @Ameritox, on Facebook at, and on YouTube at

© 2012 Ameritox Ltd. All rights reserved. Ameritox, Ameritox-Medication Monitoring Solutions, Rx Guardian, Rx Guardian INSIGHT and Rx Guardian CD are trademarks of Ameritox. Other trademarks are the property of their owners.

SOURCE Ameritox
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