We recently published a story about a rise in addictions among co-workers. And now, there is additional scientific evidence to back that up. USA Today affiliate Cincinnati.com recently published an interesting story about drug testing across the United States and a significant rise in positive results since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the article, substances like cocaine, crystal meth and fentanyl were high on the list for positive drug tests. And these can include everything from workplace results, to addiction centers, to parolees and beyond. It’s a trend that extends across multiple population segments and certainly raises some concern.
The data was gathered by The United States Health and Human Services Department. Speaking on their behalf, Dr. Mina Kalfas explained how quarantines and a lack of available treatment options may have contributed to this latest spike.
“The core problem with addiction is that, in the face of a lack of coping skills, those with a substance use disorder are replacing them with a chemical,” Dr. Kalfas told the site. “For those who have been stable, periodically, they’re testing positive for these illicit substances, and we have to take a step back in treatment.”
The article then went on to break out just how much a jump these positive drug tests have experienced over the past six months. To get their results, the Health and Human Services Department compared urine specimens from when before the coronavirus was declared a national emergency (roughly November 2019 through March 2020) to the current period (late March 2020 through July 2020). When broken across regions, the increases are quite staggering.
Nationwide, 67 percent of the people drug tested were more likely to have positive fentanyl result since COVID-19 and 33 percent were more likely to have positive heroin results. In the southern United States, meth results also saw a double digit increase. The north, meanwhile, had a spike in positive cocaine results.
To gather these findings, reps from the agency evaluated over 150,000 urine specimens for each time period. A large portion came from patients at pain management clinics, doctors’ offices and recovery centers. Clearly, the trends are alarming and even further evidence pointing toward the nation’s growing addiction epidemic.
Though many oppose random drug testing at businesses and medical facilities (feeling it compromises civil rights), these types of findings can certainly educate the masses. Our hope, at the very least, is that political leaders and lawmakers take notice; putting the addiction fight front and center for the ongoing national agenda.