Pain patients have low rates of illicit drug use — Pain News Network
“That’s one of the reasons we decided to put this in the public domain, because it’s important. Because there are clearly differences between these groups,” said Eric Dawson, PharmD, vice president of clinical affairs at Millennium Health.
For example, the positivity rate for fentanyl in urine samples is around 2% for patients with pain – a level that remained stable throughout the 6-year study period.
But Millennium found that for primary care and behavioral health patients, the positivity rate for fentanyl reached about 5%.
In patients receiving SUD treatment, the positivity rate skyrocketed to about 17%, no doubt a reflection of the growing presence of illicit fentanyl in illicit drugs.
Methamphetamine positivity rates are also increasing for most patients – but not for pain patients – while cocaine use has remained relatively stable. Heroin positivity rates have steadily declined for all patients since 2015, according to Millennium.
“Generally speaking, the pain population being treated with opioids is an older population and using illicit drugs at a very low rate,” said Steven Passik, PhD, vice president of scientific affairs and data program manager. clinics at Millennium.
“Not only are they weak, they stay weak,” Dawson says. “So many other groups, over time, their positivity rates go up. The pain population started out low and remains low. And that says they are different from other bands.
What makes the results even more striking is that they include the first two years of the covid pandemic, a time when stress, isolation and depression drove many people to abuse drugs.