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Mitigating Addiction Amidst COVID-19

A loved one quarantined with illness. Coping with physical distancing. Daily routines interrupted. Adjusting to working from home, or worse, not being able to work at all. We are no longer blissfully, unconsciously, going about our ordinary lives—but live in a vast communal experience with a daily current of emergent news, and even more urgent advisories and directives. These are the life crises that we’re all facing as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

At DRUGSCAN, we recognize the scope of these circumstances—we are bracing for and preparing to help mitigate its inevitable impact on the addiction crisis in America. Moreover, it’s important to remember that the statistics we see are more than numbers—they’re human lives. And with an ever-changing U.S. economy, and an already strained healthcare system, those with addiction face dire consequences.

Individuals with addiction, particularly those who smoke tobacco or marijuana, vape, use opioids or methamphetamines, can face greater risk of contracting COVID-19 because of the negative effects these substances have on respiratory and pulmonary systems. 

And, amidst all of this, necessary coronavirus safeguards, like physical distancing and closures of public spaces, are making it harder for people with substance use disorders to find help, maintain their treatment and recovery regimen, and access social supports.

Among the countless impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on addiction testing and treatment efforts is our need to rethink standard protocols of specimen collection by exploring “testing at a distance” options that emphasize minimal contact between staff and patients, as well as reduced burden on local labs.

It’s critical, now more than ever, that we do not forget about the nation’s addiction crisis in our response to COVID-19, but instead build a comprehensive approach that will help mitigate the inevitable rise in substance abuse.

Addiction is a chronic disease. It can be prevented, and it can be treated—with the help of accurate, efficient, and sensitive testing that is adaptable to our current situation. At DRUGSCAN, we believe this means no drug test is routine, because there’s a person behind every test. And as human beings we are all uniquely different. We offer an expertise that spans testing needs, and helps addiction professionals make critical treatment decisions with confidence. We call this responsive toxicology.

DRUGSCAN is a long-standing toxicology laboratory, that provides toxicology testing, medication monitoring, drug detection services for employers, DOT-mandated programs, law-enforcement agencies, coroners, medical examiners, substance-abuse rehabilitation facilities, and clinicians. As a part of Rochester Regional Health System, DRUGSCAN is a leading pioneer in the emerging field of Abuse Deterrent Assessments.