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Evidence of misuse in more than half of company's drug screens

June 21, 2012
by Gary Enos
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 In a result it termed “startling,” Massachusetts-based toxicology laboratory Calloway Labs has reported that 52% of the drug tests it administered between last October and this March revealed either prescription drug misuse or illicit drug abuse.

“The fact that over half of all tests performed represent non-compliance by patients with their physicians’ medical regimes or abuse of illegal drugs is deeply troubling and perhaps the most dramatic evidence yet of an epidemic of drug abuse in our nation,” Calloway vice president of scientific affairs Harvey George said in a news release.

The company’s examination of more than 83,000 samples during the six-month period found that 12% of the tested individuals tested positive for illegal drugs, 13% tested negative for the drugs that their physicians had prescribed for them, and 27% were positive for prescription medications that were not listed as having been prescribed to them.

Calloway officials intend to share these findings with Massachusetts’ health and human services secretary as well as with state legislative leaders.

Calloway’s findings share similarities with those recently issued in a report from New Jersey-based Quest Diagnostics, which found that in about 76,000 cases involving prescribed medication, some inconsistency with physician orders was uncovered 63% of the time.