Today is International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD). IOAD is an annual, worldwide event that aims to shed light on the hundreds of thousands of people who die every year from overdosing on drugs.

Twenty years ago, IOAD was instituted by social health workers Sally J. Finn and Peter Streker in Australia as a local event. Over time, it has morphed into a global platform to unite people who have lost loved ones to overdoses and to help prevent future tragedies.

With opioid and heroin positivity and overdose deaths increasing substantially, there needs to be an ongoing global conversation about drugs and their impacts. According to the 2017 World Drug Report, “An estimated quarter of a billion people, or around 5% of the global adult population, used drugs at least once in 2015.”

This annual event has gained traction over the past two decades by helping the worldwide community get involved. Here is how you can help to spread awareness and join the conversation about drug overdoses, prevention, and education:

  1. Get Social: To encourage a global conversation, tweet your story or inspiration using the hashtag #OverDoseAware2017.
  2. Share a memorial: Share your story to honor a person who died, or nearly died, from an overdose on the IOAD website.
  3. Give to the cause: Donating to the IAOD can help support community education and advocacy. Simply fill out this online order form to make a donation


Globally, there are roughly 190,000 preventable drug overdoses each year. Let’s work together to decrease that number.

Stay connected with Quest Diagnostics on LinkedIn and Facebook.

To learn more about drug testing, visit our website or contact us online.


Top 7 trends at SAPAA

by Nicole Jupe on August 30, 2017

Hundreds of drug and alcohol testing industry professionals met in Las Vegas for the annual Substance Abuse Program Administrators Association (SAPAA) conference last week. As a platinum sponsor, we are proud to support a group whose mission is to establish, promote, and communicate the highest standards of quality, integrity, and professionalism in the administration of workplace substance abuse prevention programs. Several important topics and trends were discussed during the conference, such as:

  1. If an employee abuses drugs, employers can expect a greater risk of unexcused absences, tardiness, theft, workplace violence, or a drug-using employee to quit or be fired within a year, according to a presentation by Marie Marasovich, HR Operations Senior Manager of the Chicago Transit Authority. Additionally, drug users utilize 16 times as many healthcare benefits and incur 300% higher medical costs than non-abusers.
  2. It’s important to stay current on federal regulations for the drug and alcohol testing of safety-sensitive employees. Patrice Kelly, Acting Director of the Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance (ODAPC), encouraged all attendees to stay current with news and updates by subscribing to the ODAPC list serve, which will alert subscribers to any news from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). Many are awaiting a DOT Final Rule for synthetic opioids and subscribers will hear that news first.
  3. Kelly helped to clarify confusion around the revised Federal Drug Testing Custody and Control Form (CCF). She said, “Service agents and laboratories should continue to use the old CCF form. The old CCF is the one that has been used under the DOT-regulated program since 2010. When using the old CCF, a ‘memorandum of record’ is not required.”
  4. All DOT agencies, including the Federal Transit Authority (FTA) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), reiterated that questions from drug testing administrators were welcome to help ensure that airplanes, trains, trucks, and buses are “operated in a safe and responsible manner.”
  5. Our country faces a national crisis with skyrocketing opioid use and abuse. According to a presentation by Daniel Neill, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Las Vegas District Office of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. has only 5% of the world’s population yet consumes 99% of the hydrocodone and 85% of oxycodone. Additionally, 80% of new heroin abusers start with opioids. According to his data, approximately 65,000 people died of drug overdoses in 2016, a number that would fill every seat in the new Raiders football stadium being built in Las Vegas.
  6. Marijuana remains the most identified drug in America. States continue to pass marijuana legislation despite the drug’s Schedule I classification under Federal law. Many employers remain uncertain about their screening options for marijuana and penalties of employee drug use.
  7. Companies should review their substance abuse policies to confirm that the language adheres to state and federal laws, clearly outlines the components of their drug and alcohol testing program, and explains the consequences of policy violations such as a failed drug test. Safety should remain the central focus of any policy.

Associations like SAPAA help to drive process forward and keep industry professionals informed with continuing education and the exchange of ideas. Consider joining an association like SAPAA to boost your knowledge, enhance your drug testing program proficiency, network with industry experts, and stay current on news, trends, technology, research, and regulations.

To learn more about drug testing, visit our website or contact us online.

DEA proposal to curb production of prescription drugs

August 24, 2017News

On August 7, 2017 the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) published a proposal which would establish a production limit on the manufacturing of several controlled substances starting in 2018. This reduction is supported by data obtained from IMS Health and will impact the production of commonly prescribed Schedule II opioid painkillers such as: Oxycodone Hydrocodone Oxymorphone […]

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Risk Management: New trends in workforce drug use

August 2, 2017Drug Testing

In the early afternoon of Jan. 4, 1987, an Amtrak train crashed into a locomotive 18 miles northeast of Baltimore, causing 16 deaths and dozens of injuries. In post-accident drug and alcohol testing, the engineer driving the train tested positive for marijuana, although no one noticed anything unusual about his behavior before the crash that […]

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SHRM in the Big Easy

July 13, 2017Drug Testing

New Orleans has a rich history that spans back to the 1700s. The city’s pulse beats through marvelous jazz musicians, street performers, and some of the world’s most diverse and delicious food. No other city in the United States quite compares. This eclectic stage lent itself to a lively conference held by the Society for […]

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Fighting Opioid Prescription Addiction

June 29, 2017News

Opioid addiction can begin with the best of intentions, like managing pain. The middle-aged male visits the ER for a back sprain. A typical teenager has her wisdom teeth removed by the oral surgeon. To minimize discomfort, the healthcare professional may prescribe 20 or more hydrocodone pills. In fact, the U.S. Department of Health and […]

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Increases in Illicit Drugs, Including Cocaine, Drive Workforce Drug Positivity to Highest Rate in 12 Years

May 16, 2017Drug Testing

The Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ (DTI) reveals insights into patterns of drug use among the American workforce. It has been published annually for more than 25 years as a public service for government, employers, policymakers, media, and the general public. This year’s report will be presented at the Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association […]

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Employers Paying the Price of Substance Abuse

May 9, 2017Drug Testing

Substance abuse in the workplace is increasing. For the past several years, data from the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ has shown an increase in drug test positivity in the American workforce. We knew that employee drug use was costly to businesses in turnover, absenteeism, accidents, and insurance. However, the actual cost employers bear for […]

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2017 National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

April 14, 2017News

An ambulance blazes by a sea of idling cars in the midst of evening rush-hour. Weaving through traffic, the EMT’s singular goal is to arrive at the emergency room as quickly as possible. The passenger is a victim of accidental prescription drug poisoning. This scenario plays out daily in cities across the country. In fact, […]

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Winter Storm Stella May Cause Delays

March 14, 2017News

The National Weather service has issued winter storm warnings throughout the northeast, with likely impacts including Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington D.C. In addition, blizzard warnings have also been issued from northeast New Jersey to far southeast New York and southern Connecticut. Be aware that this hazardous storm may impact the logistics and transportation of […]

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