Quest Diagnostics has introduced the new 88-compound psychoactive substance test panel to aid healthcare providers in identifying potential misuse of drugs in patients prescribed controlled medications.

The new confirmatory testing service for novel psychoactive substances (NPS) includes a wide range of drug categories such as designer stimulants, opioids, benzodiazepines, fentanyl analogues, synthetic cannabinoids, and various illicit additives.

It helps identify misuse of controlled medications, including opioids and other substances. This is crucial due to the increasing presence of synthetic or “designer” drugs in the nation’s drug supply.

The panel makes use of definitive liquid chromatography combined with advanced tandem mass spectrometry testing to detect misuse of NPS.

Quest’s team, comprising toxicologists, medical experts and data analysts, will regularly assess and enhance the panel.

This process involves incorporating the latest substances found in communities, as indicated by trends in the company’s nationally representative Health Trends dataset and the most recent reports from academic research, public health and law enforcement organisations.

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Quest created the panel in response to the evolving drug epidemic highlighted in its nationally representative Health Trends report, titled ‘Drug Misuse in America 2023: The Growing Crisis of Novel Psychoactive Substances’.

Using data from more than 3.6 million clinical laboratory drug tests conducted by the company last year, the report offers insights into the drug crisis and its shifts from prescription opioids and fentanyl misuse to NPS.

Quest Diagnostics medical director and Health Trends research programme head Harvey Kaufman said: “Our Health Trends data demonstrates the importance of considering all possible NPS, not just xylazine, in clinical drug testing.”

In October 2023, Diadem and Quest Diagnostics announced an exclusive US licensing agreement for the former’s AlzoSure Predict Alzheimer’s Disease prognostic technology.