CESAR collaborated with Epic Research to analyze emergency department data. Findings show only 5% of overdose-related emergency visits have routine fentanyl screening. When fentanyl screening occurred, the positivity rate is near 50%. The study confirms prior CESAR EDDS findings.
- Since 2017, patients visiting the emergency department for an overdose have been tested for opiates in 45-50% of cases, and the positivity rate of these tests has gradually decreased to less than 14%. However, opiate screenings do not detect fentanyl.
- While testing for fentanyl during overdose visits has become more common in recent quarters, the testing rate remains low at 5%, despite more than 56,000 overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids, like fentanyl, in 2020. When testing occurs, positivity rates for fentanyl are approaching 50%, more than three times the positivity rate of opiates.
- Identification of fentanyl during overdose visits is important to appropriately identify treatment needs and inform public health interventions for illicit drug use, which can save additional lives.