RTS Blog: Use of Reporting Services in Medico-Legal Cases

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RTS Blog: Use of Reporting Services in Medico-Legal Cases

19 October 2020: Use of Reporting Services in Medico-Legal Cases

At Randox Testing Services we provide several reporting options that are available for use should they be required in medico-legal cases, including expert witness reports and medical reviews to add clarity and expert examination to results.

Why is Drug and Alcohol Testing in Medico-legal Cases Important?

Drug and alcohol testing is important to ensure child protection from the detrimental effects of parental substance misuse and to ensure they have a quality of life they deserve. In addition, it is also important to enable parents the opportunity to get the help and support they need and begin rehabilitation treatment.

Doing the right thing by the child is the main priority, and where possible parent and child relationships are sought to be maintained. Drug and alcohol testing assists in these efforts and in such cases abstinence monitoring testing may be required to assess a parent’s recovery e.g. if a visitation case is being reassessed.

Expert Witness Services

An Expert Witness Report is an interpretation of the results of a drug or alcohol test. It provides a detailed explanation of whether substances tested for were detected as well as information regarding chain of custody compliance and testing procedures.

As trusted industry experts Randox Testing Services staff are trained to act as Expert Witnesses in legal cases involving drug and alcohol testing. Our experienced team of Reporting Scientists have undergone extensive Expert Witness training to provide professional witness statements or fully written reports for use as evidence in a court of law or industrial tribunals.

Where required a Senior Toxicologist from Randox Testing Services can attend legal proceedings in person to provide expert witness testimony.

Medical Review Officer

Our medical review service offers independent and expert examination of positive results under medical confidentiality.

A positive result from a drug and alcohol analysis is a cause for concern. However, there are some cases when there is a legitimate medical reason for the result. Our medical review service allows for the independent and confidential review of the result to determine the cause of a positive result, for example, if an employee is taking prescription medication.

The Medical Review Officer (MRO) assesses a positive result in the light of the donor’s medical background to determine if there is a legitimate medical reason for the result. The MRO helps protect both the rights of the employee being tested and the employer requiring the testing.

Randox Testing Services

At Randox Testing Services we offer customers access to our expertise through providing various reporting options to customers. These reporting services can be utilised in cases where extra clarity or examination is needed to investigate the outcome of a drugs test. These reports are utilised by workplaces as well as those operating within the medico-legal sector.

For more information on our training, education and reporting services, visit https://www.randoxtestingservices.com/workplace-drug-and-alcohol-testing/training-education-reporting-and-policy/

If you would like to find out more about our drug and alcohol testing programs, contact us today to speak to one of our experience business development executives.

Email: testingservices@randox.com

Phone: 028 9592 2801

 

 

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The use of DNA, Drug and Alcohol Testing in Medico-Legal cases

18 September 2020: The use of DNA, Drug & Alcohol Testing in Medico-Legal cases

Drug and alcohol testing may be required by various professional bodies involved in child custody cases, care proceedings or child protection cases. In cases regarding divorce and children, a dispute may arise during the process of discussions involving the custody of children. In these cases, drug and alcohol testing may be sought if there has been a substance abuse claim against a parent fighting for custody or visitation. In cases relating to child protection, social services may seek drug and alcohol testing if child welfare claims have been made regarding suspected substance misuse.

Why is Drug and Alcohol Testing in Medico-legal Cases Important?

Drug and alcohol testing is important to ensure child protection from the detrimental effects of parental substance misuse and to ensure they have the quality of life they deserve. In addition, it is also important to allow parents the opportunity to get the help and support they need and begin rehabilitation treatment.

Doing the right thing by the child is the main priority, and where possible parent and child relationships are sought to be maintained. Drug and alcohol testing assists in these efforts and in such cases abstinence monitoring testing may be required to assess a parent’s recovery e.g. if a visitation case is being reassessed.

Our Expertise

At Randox Testing Services we provide drug and alcohol testing to all professionals within the medico-legal sector. Our testing service utilises accredited testing methods and is made more cost-effective through patented testing methods developed by Randox.

We understand the impact a positive result can have on a parent, child, and extended family and ensure results are of the highest precision and accuracy. With over 35 years’ experience in the diagnostic industry we have gained reputation as a trusted provider.

Our drug and alcohol testing solutions are flexible and can be tailored to our customer needs with a choice of testing methods. We offer a comprehensive drugs of abuse test menu and our service also includes the use of an Expert Witness Statement where applicable.

Range of Testing

We provide a range of testing to suit the requirements for any medico-legal case. Read more below to find out what is available.

Alcohol Testing

PEth

PEth (Phosphatidylethanol) is a direct alcohol biomarker that only forms in the body when ethanol is present, making it the most sensitive and specific test to assess alcohol consumption levels.

  • PEth test involves spotting a drop of blood from a small finger prick onto a test card. The dried blood spot (DBS) is sent to the laboratory for analysis.
  • PEth testing will differentiate between abstinence or light alcohol consumption, social alcohol consumption and alcohol abuse for up to a month prior to the test.

Benefits of PEth Testing

  • Accurate blood alcohol test
  • Detect chronic and single-drinking episodes of alcohol consumption
  • Monitor abstinence, drinking behaviour and identify relapse

Hair Alcohol Testing

Testing for alcohol in head hair works by detecting two metabolites of alcohol: ethyl glucuronide (EtG) and the fatty acid ethyl ester (FAEE). Both EtG and FAEE can be measured in hair providing an insight into alcohol consumption over the previous period of months. Concentrations can be influenced by cosmetic treatments and products and as such it is always advisable to test in conjunction with PEth or LFT/CDT blood testing.

Benefits of Hair Alcohol Testing

  • Assessment of alcohol consumption for up to 6 months
  • Collected by fully trained Collection Officer
  • History of alcohol consumption can be established

Blood Alcohol Testing

Blood alcohol testing is used to measure the level of alcohol in an individual’s blood. When alcohol is consumed, it’s absorbed into the bloodstream, with approximately 90% being broken down into the liver. RTS offer the following blood alcohol tests:

  • Liver Function Test (LFT) – The blood is examined for specific enzymes which can indicate damage to the liver caused by alcohol consumption. However, other factors can lead to increased levels of liver enzymes.
  • Carbohydrate Deficient Transferrin (CDT) – Looks at specific protein which can become elevated because of heavy alcohol consumption. However, other factors can lead to increased levels of CDT.

Benefits of Blood Alcohol Testing

  • Collection by a fully trained phlebotomist collection officer
  • Assessment of alcohol consumption for up to 1 month
  • Determine drinking behaviour and patterns of use

Drug Testing

Urine

Urine drug testing is used to determine whether someone is misusing drugs by taking a sample of their urine. We offer a 12 panel that covers the major drug groups, including:

Opiates, MDMA/Ecstasy, Cocaine, Tramadol, Methadone, Methamphetamine, Ketamine, Amphetamine, Cannabinoids, EDDP, Benzodiazepines, Buprenorphine

Benefits of Urine Drug Testing

  • Assessment of substance consumption for up to 12 days, drug dependent and quantity ingested
  • Confirmation of presumptive positive available on request
  • Fully accredited LC mass spectrometry confirmatory analysis

Hair

Hair drug testing is a useful form of testing and can be used to support other methods such as oral fluid and urine testing. Our standard panel for hair drug testing includes:

Opiates, Methadone, Tramadol, Cocaine (inc. Crack Cocaine), Amphetamines, (inc. Methamphetamines and “ecstasy” type drugs), Benzodiazepines, Cannabis, Ketamine

Benefits of Hair Drug Testing

  • Detection window of 0-12 months dependent on length (1cm roughly 1 month) – Can be an overview of 3 monthly periods or segmented into monthly periods.
  • Head hair & body hair (except axillary & pubic)
  • Body hair – Up to a 12-month overview. Unable to be segmented
  • Bespoke hair drug panel with other substances available on request

DNA Testing

We provide a range of DNA Testing services to suit your requirements.

  • Paternity testing
  • Maternity testing
  • Sibling DNA testing
  • Grandparent DNA testing
  • Aunt/Uncle testing

Benefits of DNA Testing

  • Fully trained collection officer
  • Legally accepted results

Want to find out more?

To speak to one of our experts about how our range of testing and services can help with your medico-legal testing enquiry, contact us today by emailing testingservices@randox.com or by phoning +44 (0) 28 9445 1011

 

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Vacancies available in support of the COVID-19 National Testing Programme

17 September 2020

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Vacancies available in support of the COVID-19 National Testing Programme

Vacancies available in support of the COVID-19 National Testing Programme

There’s no doubt that coronavirus is having a devastating effect across the globe.

But here in Northern Ireland there’s a company making a real impact in the fight against COVID-19. And you can be part of it.

Randox Laboratories, in County Antrim, has partnered with the government on its programme for coronavirus testing across Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales.

The programme, which in its first few weeks was focused primarily on staff working within the NHS, and then on key workers, is now available to anyone living across the UK who has symptoms of coronavirus.

Randox are providing high volume laboratory testing of potential COVID-19 samples in its laboratories at the Randox Science Park in Antrim.

It’s an enormous task, but one that Randox is well-equipped to handle. In 2019, Randox manufactured over 3 billion tests and exported to 145 countries. Its new headquarters, the result of a £161 million investment, houses state-of-the-art laboratories and the latest innovations in health diagnostic technology.

The company stepped up to support the government’s testing programme without hesitation.

Across the COVID-19 testing process, a multi-disciplinary team work collaboratively and assiduously to provide optimal support to the national response to COVID-19.

It begins with the production of Randox’s Biochip, a patented testing technology which can run multiple diagnostic tests simultaneously.

Upon identifying the latest strain of coronavirus as a significant global threat, and by drawing on almost 40 years of experience as a world-leading diagnostics company, Randox developed a new Biochip for the diagnosis of COVID-19 in a greatly accelerated time frame of just two weeks. The new Randox Biochip processes two coronavirus tests simultaneously – one specific and one confirmatory – as recommended by the World Health Organisation.

The firm’s team of talented scientists continue to develop these COVID-19 Biochips on an unparalleled scale, in preparation for testing of samples from across the UK.

Meanwhile, specialist engineers design and build the coronavirus testing platforms used to conduct the tests when they arrive at the laboratory.

Randox recently announced it was hiring 160 mechanical, electrical and manufacturing engineers to work on the fast-tracked development of newly designed molecular analysers used to detect the presence of COVID-19.

And the company is also recruiting for positions in Manufacturing and Science, and in particular scientists who have experience in a diagnostic laboratory, in support of Randox’s role within the government testing programme for COVID-19.

These scientists will be exposed to molecular testing techniques including DNA extraction, PCR techniques and Biochip technology, in order to process samples that arrive at the laboratory for testing.

Everyone at Randox has a vital role to play in the practical application of COVID-19 testing.  For Scientists, Engineers and those with experience in Manufacturing, Randox’s recruitment drive is a unique opportunity to make a positive impact in the fight against COVID-19.  Successful applicants will contribute directly both to saving lives and assisting the national recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

To find out more about the positions available for Randox’s COVID-19 testing project, visit  https://randox.getgotjobs.co.uk/

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Drug and Alcohol Training from Randox Testing Services

10 August 2020: Drug and Alcohol Training from Randox Testing Services

As well as providing a fully managed drug & alcohol testing service, RTS provide a range of training and education services to help inform and educate regarding the issue of drug & alcohol use in the workplace.

Alcohol use increases the risk of problems in the workplace, such as absenteeism, presenteeism and inappropriate behaviour. Use of alcohol or illicit drugs can impair a person’s performance at work through poor decision making and impaired reaction times causing lost productivity, inferior goods/services, errors and accidents.

Certain working situations and conditions are associated with use of alcohol and illicit drugs (i.e. shift or night work, travel away from home, working remotely, business meals, poor communications and job stress, etc). There are many factors within the workplace culture that present an increased risk for the use of substances including availability, work/peer-group pressures, lack of supervision, physical danger and interface with a demanding or aggressive public. International evidence also indicates that longer working hours are significantly associated with higher rates of alcohol use and related problems.

Professional Services

Randox Testing Services offer professional training services to ensure efficient implementation of workplace drug and alcohol testing. The training services confirm employer confidence to carry out workplace drug and alcohol testing and management competence in enforcing the process. There are a range of tailored training programmes to educate employers and their management staff.

Range of Courses

Our range of competency courses are designed to train employees who will be responsible for carrying out self-collection in accordance with company policy. Anyone involved in self-collection needs to be suitably trained and certificated to follow set procedures that ensure all testing can be legally defended. We provide competency courses for the following matrices:

  • Alcohol Testing
  • Instant Urine Testing
  • Instant Oral Fluid Testing

In addition to the above, we also provide a portfolio of other training and education presentations that enable employers to enhance awareness of substance misuse & understand the various processes involved when implementing a workplace testing programme. These options include:

  • Chain of Custody Training
  • Drug & Alcohol Awareness Training
  • Employee Briefings
  • Bespoke Training Courses

All training courses are fully recorded, regularly reviewed and include an assessment of the effectiveness of training. Upon completion, all attendees are granted a Certificate of Attendance at the end of each completed training course.

Randox Testing Services

Randox Testing Services are a specialist in the workplace drug & alcohol testing sector. We provide a wide range of testing for companies who want to reduce the impact of substance misuse in the workplace. With a range of service options and expert staff on hand to provide help and training, our services will help to eradicate the impact of drugs and alcohol.

If you have any questions regarding drug & alcohol testing and how we can provide your company with training and education services, please use the below details to get in touch and we will be happy to discuss requirements.

Email – testingservices@randox.com

Phone – +44 (0) 28 9445 1011

Want to know more?

Contact us or visit our website to read more.


Alcohol consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic

09 July 2020

Alcohol consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic

 

Alcohol consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic

On 31 December 2019, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission in Wuhan City, Hubei province, China, reported a cluster of 27 pneumonia cases (including seven severe cases) of unknown aetiology, with a common reported link to Wuhan’s Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, a wholesale fish and live animal market. On 23 January 2020, Wuhan City was locked down – with all travel in and out of Wuhan prohibited –and movement inside the city was restricted.

By March, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, with more than 150 countries worldwide being affected. Many countries, including the UK; imposed stringent public health measures that included the closure of businesses & strict social distancing guidelines.

Due to the enforced lockdown, many within the UK workforce had to make alternative working arrangements, with working from home becoming the new norm. With the closure of businesses and the hospitality sector including bars and restaurants, it meant people seeking alternative means to purchase and consume alcohol.

Before the pandemic, alcohol was attributed to being a financial burden to the UK health system and wider economy. The British Medical Journal estimated that alcohol costs the NHS more than £3.5 billion and the wider economy at least £21bn each year.

The organisation Alcohol Change UK commissioned new research to look at whether people’s drinking habits changed during the COVID-19 lockdown. Over 2,000 people completed the survey, with results weighted to ensure they were representative of the UK population.

The key takeaway from the report is people are consuming alcohol differently because of the lockdown. Around one in five drinkers (21%) told us that they have been drinking more frequently since the lockdown. This suggests that around 8.6 million UK adults are drinking more frequently under lockdown.

Furthermore, while almost half of drinkers said they were drinking about the same amount on a typical drinking day, 15% said they have been drinking more per session since lockdown.

The Global Drug Survey produced a special report for COVID-19 with more than 80,000 participants. The report stated that 44% of those who participated said the frequency of alcohol use increased. Reasons for this included ‘having more time to drink and feeling bored more often.’ However, 25.5% reported having decreased their use of alcohol during COVID-19.

As restrictions begin to ease and more people return to work, it is important to highlight the impact of COVI-19 on the workforce. People’s way of life has changed dramatically, with this change comes different ways of consuming alcohol. It is important to note that the figures above are a proportionate representation based on those who took part, but valuable insights can be gained when looking at alcohol use. For employers who have staff returning to work, their safety is of paramount importance. This will include effectively managing substance misuse, should it be an issue in the workplace.

Effects of Alcohol

Alcohol’s impact on your body starts from the moment you take your first sip. While an occasional glass of wine or beer isn’t a cause for concern, the cumulative effects of drinking wine, beer, or spirits can take its toll.

Consumption of alcohol can impact various parts of the body. Effects can range from weakening of the immune and digestive system, to inflammation and sugar level issues.

Our ‘Effects Of’ Series provides educational posters that can be displayed in workplaces to highlight the dangers of alcohol. Click here for more information.

About Randox Testing Services

Randox Testing Services are a specialist in the workplace drug & alcohol testing sector. We provide a wide range of testing for companies who want to reduce the impact of substance misuse in the workplace. With a range of service options and expert staff on hand to provide help and training, our services will help to eradicate the impact of drugs and alcohol.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, RTS have continued to provide drug & alcohol testing services. At all times, we have ensured our staff are equipped to provide sensible advice and flexible solutions to drug & alcohol testing.

We have provided each Collection Officer with full PPE to ensure they meet requirements for personal and professional safety. Full social distancing guidelines are followed at all times when possible whilst conducting testing. We will continue to advise and navigate companies through this period as more businesses return and testing is required.

If you have any questions regarding drug & alcohol testing, contact us today.

Web: www.randoxtestingservices.com

Email: testingservices@randox.com

Phone: +44 (0) 28 9445 1011

 

 

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Randox calls upon NI engineers to build COVID-19 testing platforms

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05 April 2020

COVID-19 Engineering Recruitment Drive

 

RANDOX CALLS UPON NI ENGINEERS TO BUILD COVID-19 TESTING PLATFORMS

Randox Laboratories has today announced it is recruiting 160 mechanical, electrical and manufacturing engineers to enhance its capacity for COVID-19 testing.

 The engineers, who are due to begin work at the Randox Science Park from the middle of May, will be involved in the fast-tracked development of specialist molecular analysers used to detect the presence of COVID-19.

These testing platforms will be used to further enhance the government’s national testing scheme for key workers, as well as to facilitate testing more broadly across the general populace.

Dr Peter FitzGerald, Managing Director of Randox Laboratories, commented;

“It is Randox’s priority to ensure that we support the UK’s effort to fight COVID-19, by testing at scale. We know that this is the most effective way to both save lives and promote a timely return to a more normal society.

“We continue to ramp up our COVID-19 testing capabilities – not only by increasing our production of testing kits, but also by accelerating the build schedule for the testing analysers on which the tests are performed.

“We are aiming, by working at maximum efficiency in a greatly accelerated time frame of 6-7 weeks, to manufacture 200 of our most state-of-the-art testing platforms, which will greatly enhance our testing capacity at Randox.”

Randox has, in recent weeks, established a number of new teams responsible for the development, manufacturing and distribution of COVID-19 testing kits for the national testing programme.

The company is also interested in speaking to anyone with experience in mechanical, electrical or manufacturing engineering. Invest Northern Ireland is helping by contacting companies which may be able to temporarily release resources to help meet this urgent staffing requirement.

Dr FitzGerald added;

“To meet the unprecedented demand for COVID-19 testing, we have been redeploying our own personnel to various COVID-19 critical departments, but are now also recruiting for a number of specialist disciplines.

“Everyone at Randox has a vital role to play in the practical application of COVID-19 testing, and for engineers in particular, this is a unique opportunity to make a positive impact in the fight against COVID-19, by directly contributing in no small part to the national testing programme.”

Anyone interested in the Randox COVID-19 Engineering Drive should apply at careers.randox.com

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RTS Blog | Wales introduce minimum alcohol pricing

12 March 2020

Wales introduce minimum alcohol pricing

 

RTS Blog | Wales introduce minimum alcohol pricing

From 2nd March, there was a change in the way alcohol is sold in Wales, with the introduction of minimum unit pricing (MUP).

Retailers and any outlets serving alcohol must charge at least 50p a unit, meaning a typical bottle of wine costs no less than £4.69. Welsh Health Minister Vaughan Gething said it would tackle “harmful and damaging” drinking of cheap, strong alcohol.

A recent report found that alcohol sales in Scotland had dropped after a similar system was implemented in May 2018. The Public Health Minimum Price for Alcohol Wales Act 2018 forces retailers to use a formula for working out minimum pricing.

What is a unit of alcohol?

  • A unit is 10ml of pure alcohol
  • This is equivalent to about half a pint of lower or standard-strength beer or cider
  • A single 25ml shot of sprits is about one unit
  • A small 125ml glass of wine contains about 1.5 units

Source: NHS Direct Wales

What is minimum unit pricing?

Minimum unit pricing (MUP) is a method in setting a baseline price below which no one can sell an alcoholic drink. The price is based on how much alcohol is in each drink. The minimum price that’s being set in Wales is 50p per unit of alcohol. Whether the drink is beer, cider, wine, spirits or any other kind of alcoholic drink; its minimum price will depend on how much alcohol it contains. For example:

  • A standard-strength pint of beer or cider contains around 2.5 units of alcohol, so it can’t be sold in Wales for less than £1.25 (2.5 x 50p)
  • A bottle of wine has about 10 units of alcohol in it, so the minimum price for it is around £5 (10 x 50p)
  • A bottle of whisky or vodka contains around 26 units, and so cannot be sold for less than £13 (26 x 50p)

Why has it been introduced?

Official figures show about 500 people die in Wales each year from alcohol-related causes, with 60,000 hospital admissions related to alcohol consumption, adding up to an estimated £159m cost to the Welsh NHS r.

Dr Sarah Aitken, director of public health for Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, said the organisation had been supportive of the law change since it was first mooted.

“We see the effects of excessive alcohol consumption on people’s health every day,” she said.

 About Randox Testing Services

Randox Testing Services are a specialist in the workplace drug & alcohol testing industry. We provide testing solutions for companies who want to reduce the impact of substance misuse in their workplace. With a range of service options and expert staff on hand to provide help and training to staff, our services will help to eradicate the impacts of drugs and alcohol.

To find out more about our range of products and how our service packages can help your company, contact us today.

Email – testingservices@randox.com

Phone – +44 (0) 28 9445 1011

 

Want to know more?

Contact us or visit our website to read more.


Randox Testing Services announce attendance at HRD Summit 2020

16 January 2020

Randox Testing Services to attend HRD Summit 2020

 

RTS are pleased to announce we will be attending the HRD Summit 2020. The two-day event is taking place on 4-5 February at the ICC, Birmingham.

The HRD Summit plays host to the most senior HR and business leaders on the globe. The 2020 Summit will welcome over 1,500 attendees, over 150 speakers across 8 content streams, over 80 Exhibitors, over 250 Match Meetings and 11+ hours of networking spread across 2 days.

For RTS it will be the first time attending the event and UK Sales Manager Michelle Fenn is anticipating a busy and productive two days. She said,

“RTS are delighted to be attending the HRD Summit in Birmingham. It is an event that we have identified that would be ideally suited to promote the message of safer workplaces through minimising the impacts of drug & alcohol misuse. In workplaces, employers are becoming more mindful and aligned to their well-being of their employees. One part of this is ensuring a health and safety policy is in place.

A key role within this is ensuring an accurate and concise drug and alcohol policy that is effectively communicated to all employees. RTS are proud of the assistance we provide in helping companies to reduce the impact of substance misuse, so we look forward to engaging with the companies and delegates who will be attending the HRD Summit over the two days.”

As well as exhibiting in the dedicated Partner Zone at the event where delegates can engage with us directly and find out more about our services relating to drug & alcohol testing, we will also be taking part in one of the roundtable discussions that will be happening during the event, so keep an eye on our website and social media in the run up to the event for more information!

About Randox Testing Services

Randox Testing Services is a specialist in the drug & alcohol testing industry. We aim to educate and inform companies about the dangers of drug and alcohol misuse in the workplace, and the impact it can have on an organisation.

If you are attending HRD Summit and would like to speak with us about drug & alcohol testing, visit us in the Partner Zone where one of our colleagues will be happy to speak with you.

Alternatively, if you would like to know more about workplace drug & alcohol testing and how we can help your business, contact us using any of the below details.

Email: testingservices@randox.com

Phone: 028 9445 1011

 

Want to know more?

Contact us or visit our website to read more.


New report highlights scale and causes of prescription drug dependence in UK

10 December 2019

New report highlights scale and causes of prescription drug dependence in UK

 

A new report has highlighted the scale and causes of prescription drug dependence in the UK. In 2017, the minister for public health and primary care commissioned Public Health England (PHE) to identify the scale, distribution and causes of prescription drug dependence, and what might be done to address it.

The review covered adults (aged 18 and over) and 5 classes of medicines:

  • benzodiazepines (mostly prescribed for anxiety)
  • z-drugs (sleeping tablets with effects similar to benzodiazepines)
  • gabapentin and pregabalin (together called gabapentinoids and used to treat epilepsy, neuropathic pain and, in the case of pregabalin, anxiety)
  • opioids for chronic non-cancer pain
  • antidepressants

PHE’s analysis shows that, in 2017 to 2018, 11.5 million adults in England (26% of the adult population) received, and had dispensed, one or more prescriptions for any of the medicines within the scope of the review. The totals for each medicine were:

  • z-drugs – 1.0 million (2%)
  • benzodiazepines – 4 million (3%)
  • gabapentinoids – 5 million (3%)
  • antidepressants – 3 million people (17% of the adult population)
  • opioid pain medicines – 6 million (13%)

Trends

Between 2015 to 2016 and 2017 to 2018 the rate of prescribing for antidepressants increased from 15.8% of the adult population to 16.6% and for gabapentinoids from 2.9% to 3.3%. There was a small decrease in prescribing rates for the other 3 medicine classes. Rates of prescribing were higher for women (1.5 times those of men), and the rates generally increased with age. After a long increasing trend, the annual number of prescriptions for opioid pain medicines has slightly decreased since 2016. There is a continuing longer-term fall in prescription numbers for benzodiazepines. A longer-term increase in annual prescription numbers for z-drugs started to reverse in 2014.

Officials said long-term use on such a scale could not be justified and was a sign of patients dependence.

PHE medical director Prof Paul Cosford said he was worried.

“These medicines have many vital clinical uses and can make a big difference to people’s quality of life.”

But he added there were too many cases where patients were using them for longer than “clinically” appropriate – where the drugs would have simply stopped working effectively or where the risks could outweigh the benefits.

Conclusions

One in 4 adults in England were prescribed benzodiazepines, z-drugs, gabapentinoids, opioids for chronic non-cancer pain, or antidepressants. Prescriptions for antidepressants and gabapentinoids are increasing, but prescriptions for opioid pain medicines are decreasing. Prescriptions for benzodiazepines continue to fall, and those for z-drugs have more recently started to fall.

Peter Burkinshaw at PHE, one of the authors said: “The long-term prescribing of opioid pain medicines and benzodiazepines is not supported by guidelines and is not effective.”

Fellow author Rosanna O’Connor, said: “We know that GPs in some of the more deprived areas are under great pressure but, as this review highlights, more needs to be done to educate and support patients, as well as looking closely at prescribing practice and what alternative treatments are available locally.

References

Dependence and withdrawal associated with some prescribed medicines (PHE)

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/sep/10/addictive-medication-nhs-opioid-crisis-government-study-england

Randox Testing Services

At Randox Testing Services we are at the forefront of alcohol and drug testing. We aim to spread the message of alcohol and drug misuse and the effects substance abuse can have on individuals and businesses. Prescription & OTC medication if taken incorrectly can have a devastating impact. It’s important to communicate with employers if you are taking prescription medication for any reason. If your organisation undertakes workplace testing, our chain of custody process provides clarity on the steps needed to ensure confidentiality is maintained.

For more information on drug & alcohol testing, including the wide range of substances we can test for, please visit www.randoxtestingservices.com or email testingservices@randox.com

 

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RIQAS Point of Care EQA

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Randox International Quality Assessment Scheme – Point of Care EQA

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Designed to improve the quality of Point of Care Testing (POCT) in locations such as pharmacies, GP surgeries, hospital out patient departments, sports clinics, supermarkets, diagnostic/treatment and walk-in centres, RIQAS Point of Care EQA provides independent evidence of the accuracy and reliability of test results. Randox International Quality Assessment Scheme (RIQAS) is the world’s largest EQA scheme with over 47,000 participants in more than 139 countries.

Why RIQAS Point of Care?

About RIQAS Point of Care

  • How it Works

    On a monthly basis we will distribute an identical sample of blood to all participating sites.  Each participating site will test the sample in the same way they would test a real patient sample, then return their test results to RIQAS within a set time. The scheme is unique in distributing whole blood samples rather than serum based samples, this ensures that samples act identically to real patient samples at the point of care.

    An electronic report is then sent to participants, comparing their results with other participants using the same analyser.  Satisfactory and unsatisfactory performance is represented using a traffic light system, allowing instant identification of any issues. A more detailed breakdown of performance may be obtained if further information is required. With time, an overall picture will emerge showing whether results are consistently accurate and reliable or whether there may be an underlying analyser and/or operator issue.

    RIQAS Point of Care - How it works
  • Tests and Analysers

    TestRole
    HbA1c• Diagnosing diabetes mellitus
    • Monitoring treatment
    • Encouraging self-management
    Total Cholesterol & HDL Cholesterol• Risk factors for heart disease
    • Monitoring lipid lowering therapy
    C-Reactive Protein (CRP)• Early detection of infectious disease
    • Identifying need for antibiotic treatment
    Glucose• Diagnose and monitor diabetes
    • Monitor for the presence of hypoglycaemia
    (low blood glucose) and hyperglycaemia (high blood glucose)
    International Normalised Ratio (INR)• Used to measure the effect of anticoagulant
    drugs such as warfarin
    • Help diagnose a bleeding disorder; to help
    estimate the severity of liver disease
    Ketones• To determine whether excessive ketones are
    present in the blood, to detect diabetic
    ketoacidosis (DKA)
    Note – The RIQAS Point of Care range is constantly expanding to include new tests and analysers. Please contact us if your desired analyser or test is not currently displayed.
  • Ordering Information

    PanelCatalogue Number
    LipidsRQ9181/A
    Lipids + 1 panelRQ9181/B
    Lipids + 2 panelsRQ9181/C
    Additional SampleRQ9181/D
  • What Participants Say

    Our unrivalled commitment to quality and service ensures high levels of customer satisfaction, this is evident from the responses to our latest customer satisfaction survey:

    “All in all a quick and efficient service”
    “Good online system”
    “Very helpful team”
    “Excellent training”
    “They are an experienced team”
    “Very satisfied with the service that we receive”
    “Very good value for money”
    “The website is great”
  • Distribution Dates

    Distribution MonthSample DistributedResult Submission Deadline
    March 20202nd March11th March
    April 20206th April15th April
    May 20204th May13th May
    June 20201st June10th June
    July 20206th July15th July
    August 20203rd August12th August
    September 20207th September16th September
    October 20205th October14th October
    November 20202nd November11th November
    December 20207th December16th December
  • Importance of Quality Assurance

    Quality assurance is an essential aspect of any clinical/diagnostic testing service and is aimed at ensuring the accuracy and reliability of patients’ results. The right result allows the right clinical advice to be offered in a timely manner. Quality assurance operates at two levels:

    Internal Quality Control

    Internal Quality Control includes operator training/ competency assessment, analyser/ test system maintenance, and adherence to policies/ processes. Whilst some point of care analysers include inbuilt quality checks, cross-check analysis against samples with known levels provides immediate assurance and evidence that a patient’s result is safe to report.

    External Quality Assessment

    External Quality Assessment involves analysis of samples with unknown levels that have been distributed by an external organisation. Participants are informed how their results compare with other participants, hence providing independent evidence of performance. Increasingly, participation in an external quality assessment scheme is becoming a mandatory requirement where health and healthcare services are being provided.

    EQA provides assurance to both staff and customers that testing provides accurate and reliable results.

    Want to know more?

    Visit our Importance of EQA page to learn more.

Want to know more?

Contact us or download the RIQAS Point of Care catalogue to learn more.

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