Employment Drug Screening Expanded Opiates FAQ

Pre- Employment Drug Screening Expanded Opiates FAQ

What are expanded opiates?
A typical opiate screen only reports the presence of codeine and morphine.
An expanded opiate panel may also include hydrocodone and hydromorphone and/or oxycodone and oxymorphone.

Why is the new Quest Diagnostics expanded opiate panel better?
The opiate screening immunoassays are targeted to detect morphine.

Pharmacy employee

Since the other opiates share structural similarities with morphine, the opiate screening reagents detect the expanded opiates to varying extents.

In the case of oxycodone, most of the general opiate screens only detect oxycodone if it is present at a high concentration.
With the new expanded opiate panel from Quest Diagnostics, we are adding a specific screening test to detect oxycodone; thereby, increasing the detection rate for oxycodone use/abuse.

What is the positivity rate for the expanded opiates?
In 2004, based on more than 284,000 workplace drug tests, the positivity rate
for hydrocodone was 0.85% and for oxycodone was 0.19%.

Using the new oxycodone specific reagent, in a pilot study involving more than 20,000 specimens, the positivity rate for oxycodone increased by more than 150% to
0.53%.

The positivity rate for the expanded opiates is 2-3 times higher than
that of either codeine or morphine.

What are the trends in expanded opiate abuse?
There have been significant and alarming increases in the incidence of oxycodone and hydrocodone use as measured by the National Survey on Drug Use & Health [NSDUH] (formerly, the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse); the Monitoring the Future surveys of high school and college-aged youth; Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) emergency department mentions; and Quest Diagnostics positivity rates.

For more detail, please see Quest® diagnostics PDF http://www.questdiagnostics.com/dms/Documents/Other/expanded_opiates_faq.pdf

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