The 2020 Opioids Epidemic and the Importance of Drug Screening

Prof. Dr. Dr. (h.c.) Marilyn A. Huestis
Senior Fellow, Thomas Jefferson University, and President, Huestis & Smith Toxicology

Prof. Dr. Dr. (h.c.) Marilyn A. Huestis

Opioid Addiction, Global Epidemic, Pediatric/In utero drug exposure, and COVID related implications. How can testing help?

The global opioid epidemic began with misuse of prescription opioids that were marketed aggressively by manufacturers bribing physicians to prescribe high oxycodone doses. This led the Drug Enforcement Agency to restrict opioid prescribing, resulting in addicted opioid users turning to heroin. The situation worsened with the release of numerous novel psychoactive opioids, including highly potent fentanyl analogs on the market that were initially "legal alternatives" but so potent that many overdoses and deaths resulted. Later, research suggests these potent designer opioids were laced in opioids, methamphetamine, cocaine and other drugs in an effort to create more opioid dependence.

In this SelectScience webinar, Prof. Dr. Dr. (h.c.) Marilyn A. Huestis, Senior Fellow, Thomas Jefferson University, and President, Huestis & Smith Toxicology, will break down how this epidemic emerged, its continued prevalence in 2020, as well as detail the current approaches for drug testing and the success of available treatment regimens for opioid dependence.

  • Describe how the opioid epidemic developed
  • Learn how drug testing is critical to identifying opioid use
  • Evaluate the success of opioid dependence treatment
  • Understand how drug testing provides an incentive for opioid abstinence

Any clinician treating patients in routine care or involved in pain management programs. Clinical personnel working in addiction or drug treatment programs. Additionally, clinical chemists and toxicologists who want to learn more about the opioid epidemic. Obstetricians and pediatricians.