Study By HHS And Millennium Health Shows Drug Use Increasing Amid Pandemic
A study co-authored by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and San Diego-based Millennium Health found that drug test positivity rates for cocaine, fentanyl, heroin and methamphetamine have increased nationwide during the COVID-19 pandemic, it was announced Wednesday.
The study, published in the American Medical Association's JAMA Network publication, was based on urine drug test results from 150,000 patients between Nov. 14 and July 10. Comparisons were made between a sampling of 75,000 specimens in the period prior to the national emergency declared due to the coronavirus pandemic — from Nov. 14 to March 12 — and 75,000 specimens after the national emergency was declared.
The study found that the populations tested during the COVID-19 period were:
— 19% more likely to test positive for cocaine;
— 67% more likely to test positive for fentanyl;
— 33% more likely to test positive for heroin; and
— 23% more likely to test positive for methamphetamine.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated challenges for millions of Americans with substance use disorders," said HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Admiral Brett P. GiroirD. "With frequent reporting of drug testing data from Millennium Health, HHS, along with other federal agencies, can leverage near real-time substance use data to assess emerging trends and enhance programs to better support all who need help."