hydrocodone

DEA Proposal

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
  • Hydromorphone
  • Morphine
  • Codeine
  • Meperidine
  • Fentanyl

According to Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg, “Physicians, pharmacists, and patients must recognize the inherent risks of these powerful medications, especially for long-term use.” Moreover, “more states are mandating use of prescription drug monitoring programs, which is good, and that has prompted a decrease in opioid prescriptions,” he said.

As published in the Federal Register, the DEA determined the need for a production limit as a result of several factors, including:

  • Disposal of each class of chemical by manufacturers and chemical importers
  • National rate of net disposal
  • Trends in inventory accumulation
  • Projected future demand

Curbing the production of these drugs is one more tool that’s being deployed in conjunction with the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, treatment programs, and prescription drug monitoring. Together, they should help to reduce the risk of abuse associated with these dangerous substances.

For more information about Employer Solutions, visit our website or contact us online.

federal-form.jpgEarlier this year, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) revised the Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs. The HHS guideline revisions will lead to the following changes:

  • Expanded Federal urine workplace drug testing to include four Schedule II drugs: hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxycodone, and oxymorphone
  • Removed MDEA for confirmatory testing
  • Raised the lower pH cutoff from 3 to 4 to identify an adulterated specimen
  • Allowed a Medical Review Officer (MRO) to recommend the collection of an oral fluid specimen in certain situations, as permitted by agency policy

This week, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approved the revised Federal Custody and Control Form (CCF). This approval essentially links the forthcoming testing changes to the required paperwork that will accompany the testing specimens. HHS published a Q&A document to help clarify a number of the changes.

While the impact of these revised regulations is somewhat complex, here are a few key insights that you should be aware of at this time:

1. These changes only apply to Federal employee testing. If your company performs oral fluid, hair, instant, or non-DOT urine drug testing, these changes do not apply to your program.

2. At this time, you should not order new paper CCF forms. The new Federal form was approved earlier this week—on August 8, 2017. As such, the printing of new forms has not yet begun. The Federal forms you have on hand today are still valid and can be used without issue for another 10 months—until June 30, 2018.

**Update** On Tuesday, August 15, 2017, the Department of Transportation (DOT) published a notice in response to the HHS release from August 8, 2017. In this notice, they state that because the DOT’s final rule on synthetic opiates has yet to be issued, “…employers and their service agents are to continue using the ‘old’ CCF until further notice from DOT’s Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance.”

3. The anticipated go-live date for the testing changes detailed in the bullet points above is October 1, 2017. This week’s announcement only pertains to Federal CCF forms, and was essentially published to give laboratories and other service providers the ability to cease production of the legacy form and to transition production to the new form.

4. There has never been a better time to switch to eCCF. You have better things to do than keeping tabs on changing form and panel regulations, ensuring you’re using the correct form at the proper time, and dealing with the expense and hassles of shipping and storing all of this paperwork. Our electronic CCF (eCCF) process helps bear the regulatory and administrative burden for you— the new, online form is scheduled to go live in our system on October 1. There’s no cost to use it, it’s available today for all specimen types and testing reasons, and it’s simple to use. In the time it’s taken you to read this article, you could have signed up and gotten started.

As your partner in drug testing and workplace safety, we are aware of the changes and are working diligently on your behalf to ready our laboratories, systems, and personnel. We are committed helping create a smooth and seamless transition as we collectively adapt to the regulatory obligations to which we’re bound.

As we do all of this, you should do three simple things:

  • Continue testing as usual. The effort at this point falls on the laboratory, not on you or your drug testing program. You do not need new forms at this time
  • Join the thousands of customers of all sizes and in all industries who have moved away from paper-based drug testing documentation and who are now processing millions of eCCFs each year

For more information about drug testing, visit our website or contact us online.

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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Prescription Misuse Epidemic Affects 7 in 10 Employers

May 11, 2017Drug Testing

As one of the nation’s leading safety advocates, the National Safety Council (NSC) spotlights issues in an effort to “eliminate preventable deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy.” The organization has identified prescription drug misuse as one of its key safety issues because of the […]

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Revisions to Federal Workplace Drug Testing

February 10, 2017Drugs & Alcohol

On January 23, 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) revised the Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs. More specifically, the notice expanded federal urine workplace drug testing to include four Schedule II drugs: hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxycodone, and oxymorphone. The effective date for the revised Guidelines is October 1, 2017. […]

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Fentanyl In the News

June 29, 2016Urine testing

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Used to treat pain, it is categorized as a Schedule II drug and carries a “black box warning” from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to call attention […]

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White House Addresses Opioid Abuse Epidemic

February 29, 2016News

For people with chronic and reoccurring pain, prescription opioids – like Hydrocodone and Oxycodone – not only relieve suffering, but can help support a normal lifestyle. However, prescription opioids can be just as addictive and dangerous as illicit drugs. While data from the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ revealed recent positivity rate declines for prescription […]

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Drug Testing Trends Video

August 14, 2015News

The Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ (DTI) teems with insights about drug use patterns among American workers. Within the DTI, data from millions of drug tests is examined by drug type, employee category, testing reason, drug testing specimen type and geography. The latest DTI release showed the overall positivity rate increasing sharply, suggesting a potential […]

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The Prescription Drug Misuse Epidemic

July 13, 2015News

For people with chronic and reoccurring pain, prescription opioids – like Hydrocodone and Oxycodone – not only relieve suffering, but can help support a normal lifestyle, alleviate stress and improve sleep. However, prescription opioids can be just as addictive and dangerous as illicit drugs. While data from the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ revealed recent […]

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