Analysis of Drug Test Results Before and After the US Declaration of a National Emergency Concerning the COVID-19 Outbreak Pandemic

Random urine drug tests (n=150,000), found increases in prevalence, before vs after COVID, for cocaine (adjusted OR, 1.19 [95% CI, 1.11-1.29]; P < 0.001), fentanyl (1.67; 1.55-1.81; P < 0.001), heroin (1.33; 1.11-1.61]; p=0.002) and methamphetamine (1.23; 1.14-1.32; P < 0.001).

SPS commentary:

Another US study reported increased visits for opioid overdoses in the first 4 months of the COVID-19 pandemic vs previous year (from 102 to 227 cases) with Black patients making up a relatively larger proportion of opioid overdose visits.


A related editorial outlines the limitations of the studies and notes that both point to a trend in increasing substance use and opioid overdoses in the COVID-19 pandemic era with racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in opioid overdose and COVID-19–related morbidity and mortality.


Journal of the American Medical Association

Resource links:

Nonfatal Opioid Overdoses at an Urban Emergency Department During the COVID-19 Pandemic