oxycodone

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.

**Update** On Friday, November 10, 2017, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) amended its regulations to add hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone, and oxycodone, four commonly-abused opioids; add methylenedioxyamphetamine as an initial test analyte; and remove methylenedioxyethylamphetamine as a confirmatory test analyte. This change harmonizes DOT regulations with the HHS guidelines published earlier this year. The Final Rule published in the Federal Register on Monday, November 13, and the new testing standards will go into effect on January 1, 2018. Read the full text of the Final Rule.

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 four 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.
  • Get news and updates from the DOT via email by subscribing to the DOT notification system (list serve).
  • Subscribe to our newsletter to ensure you stay current with news and updates on this and other topics.
  • 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.

10 facts about opioids

by Nicole Jupe on October 10, 2017

10 facts about opioids He’s down to his last Vicodin. His chronic pain pushes him to visit a second doctor to get more painkillers to ease his agony. She sympathizes with her exhausted neighbor and shares some pills to bring sleep back to her restless nights. Just as her husband suffers from a knee injury after a pickup basketball game, she remembers the leftover pills from the birth of baby number three in the back of the cabinet. These are common scenarios because when we feel pain, we want it to go away. But, the misuse of prescriptions remains at the center of our nation’s opioid epidemic.

Misuse occurs when a prescribed drug is taken in a way that is not consistent with a physician’s orders. For many, deviating from a doctor’s instructions may lead to dependence on painkillers and, in the worst case scenario, seeking out to find street drugs like heroin or fentanyl when the refills run out. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has mounting research showing that many people switch from prescription opioids to heroin because of easier access, lower prices, and greater purity.

The government and scientific communities are studying what has become our fastest-growing drug problem since the explosion of crack cocaine in the early 1980s. Their work seeks solutions to a crisis that impacts millions of lives every day. In an effort to centralize the latest news, we have compiled headlines and data about substance abuse, addiction, overdose deaths, and the health consequences of our country’s opioid epidemic.

  1. The National Safety Council (NSC) identified prescription drug misuse as a key issue because the epidemic affects 7 in 10 U.S. employers. Data from the NSC shows that 41% of employers do not currently drug test for synthetic opioids.
  2. Opioid users miss twice as many days of work as people with addictions to other drugs. An employee with a pain medicine disorder misses an average of 29 days in a year compared to 14 days missed due to alcohol abuse, according to National Public Radio (NPR).
  3. Opioid use by American men may account for a 20% decline in their participation in the U.S. labor force, according to a study by Princeton University looking at 15 years of data. The economist says “nearly half of men in their prime worker ages not in the labor force take prescription painkillers daily.”
  4. Half of Americans (52%) tested in a recent Quest Diagnostics Health Trends study misused their prescription medications. The study also found dangerous drug combinations of opioids, benzodiazepines, and alcohol are common.
  5. Overall positivity rates for heroin increased 146% between 2011 and 2015 in the general U.S. workforce, according to the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™.
  6. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association estimated that opioids are shortening the life span of Americans by 2½ months.
  7. A report from Pacira Pharmaceuticals said middle-aged women (aged 40 to 59 years old) are prescribed more opioids than other groups and twice as many as men in their same age group. Mostly prescribed post-surgery, these group accounts for 3.3 billion unused pills.
  8. CVS became the first national pharmacy chain to limit opioid prescriptions to 7 days for certain conditions. The restriction also applies to patients who are new to pain therapy. Also, Cigna announced that it will not cover the opioid OxyContin for customers who are insured through a job, starting in 2018.
  9. Many lawmakers are working on legislation to help. One example is Rick Scott, the governor of Florida, who proposed a three-day limit on prescribed opioids in his state. Many states control the substances that are dispensed using an electronic database in a prescription drug monitoring program.
  10. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “sales of prescription opioids nearly quadrupled from 1999 to 2014, but there has not been an overall change in the amount of pain Americans report.”

Despite the resources available to increase awareness and help those struggling with substance use disorders, current statistics show that the crisis is far from over. Drug overdose is now the leading cause of accidental death among Americans under age 50 and researchers may have even underestimated overdose deaths this year with the loss of life trending to reach a record high.

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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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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By the Numbers: Positivity by Drug

October 6, 2016By the Numbers

Our By the Numbers series takes a closer look at the numbers, facts, data, and outputs that impact workplace drug testing programs. In this post,we take a closer look at positivity by drug which the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ (DTI) measures using a combination of three factors: drug category, specimen type, and workforce segment. […]

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Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index: Drug Positivity in U.S. Workforce Rises to Highest Level in a Decade

September 15, 2016Drug 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. In examining the latest data, Barry Sample, Ph.D., Senior Director of Science and Technology […]

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Detecting Drug Abuse Among Medical Professionals

July 6, 2016Urine testing

The challenges associated with opioid abuse can impact anyone regardless of gender, age, race, or job position. Perhaps surprisingly to some, that fact that some physicians struggle with substance abuse and addiction is not a new phenomenon. USA Today reported that more than 100,000 doctors, nurses, technicians and other healthcare professionals struggle with abuse or […]

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