Ameritox Research Report Reveals Pain Patients’ Role in Current Heroin Epidemic

September 2, 2014

Report examines deadly trends that created latest heroin scourge; Research to be presented at National PAIN Week conference September 2-6, 2014

BALTIMORE, MD. – Sept. 2, 2014 — AmeritoxSM, the nation’s leader in medication monitoring solutions, today released, “A Deadly Trend: Prescription Drugs to Heroin,” a research report that provides concrete evidence linking prescription drug abuse to heroin abuse, and examines deadly trends that have created a unique heroin epidemic. The full can be found here.

The report is based on data collected from urine drug testing of patients prescribed opioids. It examines five trends that distinguish the heroin abuse currently ravaging communities across the U.S. from the heroin scourges of the past. Among the key findings in the report:

  • Frequently, other illicit drugs and prescription drugs are combined with heroin use: 20 percent of heroin-positive samples also tested positive for a non-prescribed sedative hypnotic, such as Xanax or Valium, and 19 percent tested positive for cocaine.
  • Bouncing between drugs is common: Patients who tested positive for heroin did not test positive for their prescribed opioid 56 percent of the time.

“Ameritox is committed to preventing the human tragedy that too often results from prescription painkiller and heroin abuse,” said CEO Scott Walton. “”We hope that this research and report will serve as a resource for clinicians and others who share that goal.”

The data in the report was pulled from approximately 170,000 chronic pain patient samples tested by Ameritox for heroin over a two-year period. The research is being presented during the National PAIN Week conference in Las Vegas, Nevada this week.

Members of Ameritox’s Medical Affairs team will also present in-depth research with a medical poster entitled, “Heroin Use Among Pain Patients Prescribed Opioids.” A second research effort examines prescribing habits to explore trends in morphine equivalent dosing.