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Prescription Drug Misuse Remains at Alarming Levels, According to National Study by Quest Diagnostics
Date:4/3/2013

ed for a noteworthy decline in misuse rates in 2012 compared to 2011, this was not the case," said Harvey W. Kaufman , M.D., senior medical director, Quest Diagnostics. "Not only is prescription drug misuse potentially dangerous for patients, it also contributes to healthcare waste and illegal activity. Our data underscores our nation's need for better solutions for promoting responsible use of prescription drugs."

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention attributes 22,134 deaths in 2010 to prescription drug overdoses, a four-fold increase from 1999. 

Quest Diagnostics is a leader in prescription and workplace drug monitoring by diagnostic testing. The company's Drug Testing Index™ is widely considered a benchmark in national trends of drug use by American workers. The company extended its drug monitoring services with the addition of a new portfolio of prescription drug monitoring services for clinicians in 2010.

Study Strengths and Limitations
The study's strengths are its size and national scope; use of an objective laboratory method, versus surveys or polls, which may be subject to user misrepresentation or error; confirmation of all positive drug screens by mass spectrometry, the most advanced drug testing method; and inclusion of patients under care by clinicians in a primary care or pain-management setting, but exclusion of those in drug rehabilitation or addiction treatment settings, where unusually high rates of drug misuse may be expected. 

Study limitations include geographic disparities; inability to confirm drug misuse through access to medical records or clinical evaluation; and technological factors and patient variations, such as drug metabolism and hydration state, that may affect the reliability of a minority of results. Quest Diagnostics does not provide services to all clinicians in the U.S., so results are not broadly representative of all
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SOURCE Quest Diagnostics
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