The Department of Health and Human Services has entered into an agreement with Millennium Health to provide real-time drug testing data to help counter overdoses nationwide.
According to HHS, data donated from Millennium Health’s Emerging Threat Intelligence Program will include regular reporting of drug use trends from definitive urine drug-test results obtained from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and multiple medical practice types.
“The Trump Administration recognizes the power of current data in the multi-pronged efforts to curb the drug overdose epidemic,” says Assistant Secretary for Health Admiral Brett Giroir, MD. “With frequent reporting of drug testing data, HHS can work with city, county and state public health officials to provide resources to help reduce crisis points and save lives. The donation of this data is critical for reducing the occurrence of the substance use epidemic and reaching the people who need help most.”
HHS notes that Millennium Health’s donation of de-identified and aggregate data coincides with a significant increase in the use of methamphetamine and growing incidents of stimulant-involved overdose deaths.
The agency references an evaluation of Millennium Health data—published on Friday in JAMA Network Open—which revealed that since 2016 rates of positive urine drug test (UDT) results have jumped 42.4 percent for methamphetamine and 75.5 percent for fentanyl. In addition, among UDT results that were positive for fentanyl, methamphetamine positivity increased by 153.5 percent.
“Millennium Health is honored to collaborate with HHS in combating the nation’s substance abuse epidemic,” says Andrew Lukowiak, Millennium Health’s CEO. “In collaboration with external subject matter experts, we have been focused on determining how the data we obtain from our laboratory services can be used to provide meaningful, actionable insights into emerging drug use trends on a real-time basis.”
Lukowiak adds that “complementary, peer-reviewed studies published in April 2019 and January 2020 have helped to validate our approach and provided us the basis to formalize our Emerging Threat Intelligence Program.”
According to Millennium Health, the data from its Emerging Threat Intelligence Program will enable HHS to more quickly alert local public health officials about drug trends in their communities.
In September, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced more than $ 900 million in funding to help state, territorial, county and city health departments to obtain better drug overdose data.
Under a three-year cooperative agreement, the CDC is supporting surveillance activities around the country to monitor and gather data about the scope and nature of the drug overdose problem.