our clients in rehabilitation and harm-reduction services.
Are you testing for the right drugs?
Many clinics have been overlooking four major drugs that are currently being seen in greater circulation since the COVID-19 pandemic; Oxycodone, Fentanyl, Hydromorphone
and 6-Monoacetylmorphine (6-MAM).
In a recent study published by the American Medical Association it was found that drug test positivity rates for numerous drugs have increased. Test data from the comparison of 75,000 drug tests done prior to COVID and 75,000 tests done after March 2020, showed that after the pandemic began the specimens were 67% more likely to test positive for fentanyl and 33% more likely to test positive for heroin.
Unfortunately, there has also been a rise in the use of synthetic or semi-synthetic opioids to “strengthen” street drugs, due to the absence of the normal flow of illicit drugs into the country since COVID-19. In 2019 fentanyl directly contributed to about 75% of opioid-related deaths in Ontario, and unfortunately, its use is only going up.
Many people don’t know that none of these drugs will show up on a regular opioid screen, they must be tested for individually to be identified. This means many users are getting by under the radar with their use as the drugs they are taking are NOT being tested for.