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Analysis of Drug Test Results Before and After the US Declaration of a National Emergency Concerning the COVID-19 Outbreak

Educational Objective
To identify the key insights or developments described in this article

The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has exacerbated challenges for millions of adults with substance use disorders.1 New obstacles for obtaining treatment exist as do increasing stressors, including isolation, unemployment, and illness.2

To better understand the pandemic’s effects on drug use among those with or at risk of substance use disorders, we examined a convenience sample of urine drug test results.

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Article Information

Corresponding Author: Brett P. Giroir, MD, US Public Health Service, US Department of Health and Human Services, 200 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20201 (ashmedia@hhs.gov).

Accepted for Publication: August 27, 2020.

Published Online: September 18, 2020. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.17694

Author Contributions: Dr Giroir had full access to all of the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.

Concept and design: Wainwright, Mikre, Whitley, Huskey, Lukowiak, Giroir.

Acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data: Wainwright, Mikre, Whitley, Dawson, Giroir.

Drafting of the manuscript: Wainwright, Mikre, Whitley, Dawson, Giroir.

Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: Wainwright, Mikre, Whitley, Huskey, Lukowiak, Giroir.

Statistical analysis: Whitley, Dawson.

Administrative, technical, or material support: Mikre, Giroir.

Supervision: Huskey, Lukowiak, Giroir.

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: Mr Wainwright and Dr Giroir reported the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has a data donation agreement with Millennium Health to receive near real-time drug test data to enhance efforts and target approaches in fighting the overdose crisis in the US. This donation is an effort to improve the work of the DHHS with state and local officials on drug trends in their areas and to target coordination of preventive health care resources to avoid overdoses. Mr Whitley and Drs Dawson, Huskey, and Lukowiak reported being employees of Millennium Health LLC. No other disclosures were reported.

Funding/Support: This study was supported by Millennium Health LLC.

Role of the Funder/Sponsor: Millennium Health provided technical assistance on the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; preparation, review, and approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication.

References
1.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.  Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States: Results from the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; 2019.
2.
Panchal  N , Kamal  R , Orgera  K ,  et al. The implications of COVID-19 for mental health and substance use. Accessed August 11, 2020. https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/the-implications-of-covid-19-for-mental-health-and-substance-use/
3.
Twillman  RK , Dawson  E , LaRue  L , Guevara  MG , Penn  W , Huskey  A .  Evaluation of trends of near-real-time urine drug test results for methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl.   JAMA Netw Open. 2020;3(1):e1918514. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.18514PubMedGoogle Scholar
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