Some may recall CannAmm’s Factsheet on 12-Panel Drug Testing. This paper explored the potential impact of using the 12-Panel test in terms of safety, operations, and risk. One of the drugs in the 12-Panel test is oxycodone.
Oxycodone (Oxy) is a drug that is being included in an increasing amount of drug tests based on industry demand. The chart below shows the growing trend of the tests we have performed over the past 5 years.
With the growing demand, like we see here, it would be easy to conclude that Oxy abuse is a growing concern to our clients; a concern that would be confirmed with high or growing rates of detection. But is this the case?
To explore this, let’s look at the rate of positive tests over these 5 years. We will include two sets of data:
The chart above clearly demonstrates that the rate of positive tests has declined significantly over the past 5 years. Not only is the rate of positive tests decreasing, but the rate of non-positive tests is going down as well. This data clearly supports two points:
Some may draw the conclusion that testing for oxycodone is having the desired effect on the behaviour of Canadian workers. However, they are likely incorrect as there is a far more obvious reason for the decrease in positive rates. In 2012 OxyContin was replaced by a tamper proof version. Prescription rates in certain provinces fell as a result. The chart below shows the drop in Ontario, as an example. This has likely lead to a substantial decline in abuse of the drug.
Another consideration when evaluating testing for Oxy is the amount of lab positive/MRO negative tests relative to the number of outright positive tests. Over the past three years, there have been an increasing number of lab positive/MRO negative tests relative to the outright positive tests… to the point that in 2015 it was twice as likely.
A review of current data and trends suggests the following:
This look at the evidence would suggest that testing for oxycodone is not nearly as important as it was 4 or 5 years ago.