The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) conference is an annual event that explores family medicine from all angles. This year’s meeting – October 9-13 in New Orleans – will gather over 4,000 physicians from across the country to share best practices and learn from each other. Among the topics to be a major area of focus: prescription drug misuse.

The rate of opioid overdose deaths has tripled within the United States between 1999 and 2016, fueled by prescription and increasingly use of illicit opioids such as heroin and fentanyl. According to a recent CDC study, there were over 72,000 deaths related to opioid abuse last year alone. In many cases, drug combinations are responsible for overdose deaths. In fact, in 2015 more than 30% of opioid-related deaths also involved benzodiazepines. Together, the two drugs can depress respiration, leading to death.

At this year’s conference, Dr. Jack Kain, PharmD, a medical expert with Quest Diagnostics, will present a poster revealing new research that provides insights into drug combining involved opioids and benzodiazepines.  The poster is titled, Benzodiazepines and Opioids Concurrent Use: What the Prescription Drug Monitoring Database Does Not Tell You, will be presented on Tuesday, October 9 between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. at the AAFP conference. This study reveals that many patients combine opioids and benzodiazepines, according to results of Quest’s drug monitoring. People in Medicare were at the greatest risk.

The study is an excerpt of the 2018 Quest Diagnostics Health Trends Report on Drug Misuse in America. In this analysis, the Quest team  present findings from an analysis of more than 3.9 million de-identified aggregated clinical drug monitoring tests performed by in all 50 states and D.C. between 2011 and 2017. This report presents the most up to date insights into prescription and illicit drug use and misuse.

According to the report, more than half of Americans tested by Quest misuses their prescription drugs in 2017, and this rate remains unchanged from 2016. The most common form of drug misuse was drug combining, such as of opioids and benzodiazepines and opioids.

Drug misuse is a major clinical challenge, but drug monitoring can help. To learn more about the Health Trends Report, please join us at booth #1310. Visit QuestDrugMonitoring.com to learn about prescription drug monitoring.