Death Toll Decreases from Synthetic Opioids

Posted: August 30, 2019

bottle of prescription pills

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently reported statistics on overdose death tolls from the opioid crisis, showing a decrease between 2017 and 2018. However, new street drugs made of cocaine, methamphetamine and fentanyl have hit communities on the nation’s west coast.

Centers for Disease Control Statistics

  • The CDC reported that in 2017, the nationwide drug overdose deaths were around 70,000, and more than 29,000 people died from synthetic opioid overdoses. 
  • In 2018, the nationwide drug overdose death rate was more than 68,000. Out of the 68,000 deaths, 32,000 people died just from synthetic opioid overdoses. 
  • Between 2017 and 2018, the numbers have dropped, and the CDC estimates that in 2019, the nationwide overdose death may decline by another 3.4%. Although, that could change with the new street drugs that have hit the streets in the western region of United States.

New Street Drugs Hit Western U.S.

Have you heard of the street drugs speedballs or goofballs? Speedballs are a combination of cocaine and fentanyl, and goofballs are combination of methamphetamine and fentanyl. Unfortunately, these two drugs are cheaper and easier to make, which is why there could be another rise in death tolls for these two drugs. 

How This Could Impact Your Organization’s Human Resources & Safety Departments

Most drug panels test for the methamphetamine drug. This drug is listed under the amphetamine family, which is included in most 5-panel urine tests.

We recommend you check with your screening provider to see if your drug screening program tests for this drug. Unfortunately, fentanyl isn’t covered in most standard drug panels, but Info Cubic can add it to any standard urine panel.

The Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary hasn’t determined whether to expand the opiate category to include fentanyl in the mandatory guidelines. If fentanyl is added to the HHS guidelines, then Department of Transportation (DOT) Part 40 will have to revise the drug testing panel to include fentanyl.

Currently, there are 20 state laws that reference the DOT drug panel. If this change goes into effect, this impact will reach more than just DOT employers. 

Info Cubic is here to help guide your organization to find the best type of program that fits your organization’s drug-free workplace policy. Contact our Drug Screening Business Coordinator at 877-360-4636 or click here to get the conversation started.