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Recreational Marijuana Users More Likely To Misuse Prescription Drugs, According to National Study by Quest Diagnostics
Date:4/8/2013

Trends study is based on an analysis of 227,402 de-identified urine lab-test results of patients, age 10 years and older, of both genders in 49 states and the District of Columbia performed by the company's clinical laboratories in 2011 and 2012 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 key findings for marijuana use:

  • Marijuana was the most frequently detected non-prescribed drug, found in more than one in four (26%) of patients with inconsistent test results. An inconsistent result is one that indicates a patient did not use medications as prescribed, such as by combining them with other prescription or illicit drugs. These findings confirm other research on the prevalence of marijuana use, including a March 2013 Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ report that found marijuana was the most frequently detected drug among the nation's workforce.
  • Nearly half (45%) of patients who used marijuana recreationally also used other non-prescribed drugs -- most commonly sedatives and narcotic pain killers – compared to approximately one third (36%) of non-marijuana users. These findings suggest recreational marijuana users are 1.3 times more likely than non-marijuana users to use or combine potentially dangerous and addictive prescription and illicit drugs without a legitimate prescription or a clinician's oversight.
  • Thirty-seven percent of medical marijuana users (those taking prescribed cannabinoids as pharmaceutical preparations) misused other drugs. Although this data shows a significant percentage of patients prescribed cannabinoids also misused other drugs, it does not indicate they were less responsible than ot
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SOURCE Quest Diagnostics
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