The opioid crisis continues to loom across all 52 US states, with prescription drugs becoming an increasing problem. The US consumes 80% of the world’s prescription opioids, according to Talbott Recovery. In 2016 alone, more than 46 people died each day from overdoses involving prescription opioids.
The extent of the issue was made evident by the same report, which said that more people are using controlled prescription drugs than cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine combined. Some may argue that prescription drugs are part of treatment authorised by a doctor, such as painkillers and stimulants. Yet 3 out of 4 new heroin users used prescription opioids excessively prior to taking heroin. Therefore, there is a strong link between prescription opioids and abuse of synthetic opioids.
It is worth noting, however, that fentanyl and other synthetic opioids are still higher in the number of drug overdose deaths, which overtook prescription opioids in 2016.
A report from CNN stated that synthetic opioids accounted for 46% of the 42,249 opioid-overdose related deaths in 2016, while 40% was attributed to prescription drugs. Compared to 2010, this is almost triple the amount of overdose deaths attributed to synthetic opioids, which was approximately 14% of opioid-overdose deaths in 2010. These figures show how the opioid crisis has accelerated in the last ten years in the US.
Both drug groups and trends highlight the extent of the epidemic and as a Drug Enforcement Agent was quoted saying, “they’re all opiates, whether they’re synthetic or actual, they’ve all the same effect on people and they’re being abused the same way” (MyNDNow.com).
As the opioid issue heightens and the number of opioid-related overdose deaths increase, Randox Toxicology can help combat this issue. We provide an excellent solution through our drug screening capabilities, being able to detect 21 classical, prescription and synthetic drugs from a single sample. Utilising Biochip Array Technology, a simultaneous, multi-analyte testing platform, we are able to employ competitive chemiluminescent immunoassays offering a highly sensitive screen.
Our NPS I and NPS II panels detect classic designer drugs including fentanyl, in addition to our common drugs of abuse panels which are designed to meet the ever-changing market influences and provide an accurate drug profile in results.