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What Age do Kids Start Using Drugs?

what age do kids start using drugs

Drug use is an issue that every parent fears. With drugs becoming more dangerous it’s important for parents to understand what age kids start using drugs.

The Ages Kids Start Using Drugs

You should start looking for signs of drug use at the age of 10. Usually kids that start using drugs at or below 10 years of age have an extremely dysfunctional home life and their parents may even give them drugs or force them to use drugs.

A second tier of drug use begins around the age of 12-14. These children often have parents that are not strict and let their children operate with a high degree of trust and autonomy. Kids that start using drugs in this age range are most often exposed to drug use by older friends or siblings. 86% of teens reported knowing someone who smokes, drinks or uses drugs during the school day.

The final group of very young drug abusers start at age 14-15, during their first years of high school. In high school they are exposed to young adults that will view drug use in a different way than children do. 46% of teens reported using illicit drugs before graduating high school. 82% of kids have had their first drink by the age of 16, so intoxication is a common experience for teenagers by age 16.

 

First Drink by Kids Graph
This graph shows the age that kids reported having their first drink by. 82% of kids had their first drink by age 16. Intoxication becomes a normal facet of life for teenagers by the time they graduate high school.

 

Peer pressure is the biggest danger to middle school and high school aged children faced with trying drugs. As kids get older they are exposed to more drug use and become more at risk with every passing week. 29% of teens aged 12-14 have friends that abuse drugs, but that number increases to 61% for teens aged 15-17.

Drug Use at School

In 2018 30% of teens witnessed illegal drug use and the most common place for this was at their school. Teenagers spend a considerable amount of time at school and interact with hundreds of different kids every day.

Many schools have started searching children, bringing in drug sniffing dogs and adopting other measures to curb drug use. Kids are more likely to abuse drugs early in the day so the evidence is not on their person.

 

what age kids start using drugs
This chart shows a breakdown of which drugs are most popular with high school aged kids.

 

Besides peer pressure a driving motivation for kids is quick profits from selling drugs. In many states kids are limited in how many hours they can work until they’re 18, and selling drugs is a way to make more money than they could with a minimum wage after school job. Kids may obtain drugs at home or purchase them on the street to bring to school where there is a high demand.

Pharmaceuticals are the most popular drugs at school because unlike smoking marijuana there isn’t a strong smell. Tablets can be crushed into powder quickly and snorted and unlike alcohol the effects are more manageable and easier to conceal.

Drug Dealers at Home

Once children have been exposed to drug use their views on the matter change significantly. They may have been told that marijuana kills instantly and other exxaggerations to deter them from using drugs.

They will learn how to identify drugs and even if their drug of choice is marijuana they will likely be exposed to other drug users that use a variety of drugs. Knowing that other drugs hold value to their friends they will now be aware of any prescription narcotics that are in your home. Some children that do not use drugs will sell drugs found in medicine cabinets at home.

 

promethazine syrup
Promethazine cough syrup has become a popular drug of choice for urban teens. It is often mixed with cold drinks. Parents often consider this a harmless cough syrup.

 

Lock up all prescription narcotics and any other pharmaceuticals that could have a street value in a safe. The safe storage of a parent’s medication could be the difference in your teen progressing to harder drugs and sticking with a less dangerous drug such as marijuana.

Education is Key

There has never been a more dangerous time for illegal drug use. Chemists favor high powered opioids such as fentanyl and carfentanyl because their potency means high value shipments and smaller and more valuable. The dealers that break down and package drugs for sale on the street are no chemists however, and overdoses due to potency are becoming more and more common.

Teach your children abut the dangers of fentanyl and its prevalence. Be honest with them. Even though they aren’t very likely to die from a marijuana overdose, Fentanyl deaths have risen considerably and there is no way to know if a dose of heroin will have a toxic amount of fentanyl in it.

Another pressing danger is prescription drug abuse. It’s more common for a teenager in 2020 to start by abusing prescription drugs and move to heroin due to cost, availability and potency. 78% of teens say that their doctors and dentists never spoke with them about how dangerous prescription drugs can be.

 

Naloxone Pen
A naloxone injection is a cheap and effective antidote for opiate overdose if administered soon enough. Unfortunately the potency of fentanyl has led to some overdoses needing 3-5 naloxone shots to counteract,

 

If you suspect your child has used or is susceptible to drug use consider getting a couple naloxone pens and keeping them at home. Organizations are giving out free naloxone pens and offering free classes to learn how to use them across the country. This small step could one day save someone’s life.

Learn how to identify signs of drug use and be open with communication. 55.8% of teens said the main deterrent to using drugs was their parents.

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What is the CPT code for Drug Testing 2020?

doctor administering a drug test

The AMA CPT code for drug testing using our 12 panel drug test cups, which is the code used for Medicare B and most other insurers, is 80305.

The American Medical Association (AMA) CPT code for drug testing 80305 replaces older codes used for presumptive drug testing read by direct optical observation. 80305 is now recognized as the CMS HCPCS code in place of G0477.  Provider must include sample validation (observing specimen donation and confirming temperature) at the time of collection.

The AMA text of the presumptive drug testing code reads as follows

CPT code 80305: Drug tests(s), presumptive, any number of drug classes; any number of devices or procedures, (e.g. immunoassay) capable of being read by direct optical observation only (e.g., dipsticks, cups, cards, cartridges), includes sample validation when performed, per date of service.

Medicare does not pay out for this code because they do not consider it to be medically necessary. A physician is sill responsible for determining that narcotic drugs are not being abused, misused or trafficked.

Private insurance pays up to $21 for this service (office fees on average are approximately $60). The office fee for a presumptive drug test read optically including sample validation should be higher (one office charged a fee of $290), but reimbursement is usually about $22.

This new code 80305 replaced 80300 & G0477 and has been in effect since January 1, 2017.

 

CPT code for drug testing
The AMA adopted CPT code 80305 for drug testing to simplify coding for this set of procedures, and to replace the G code used by CMS.

Other Valid CPT Codes for Drug Testing

The other valid codes for drug testing patients are 80306 & 80307.

AMA CPT code for drug testing 80306 is for a presumptive test with specimen validation that is read by instrument assisted direct optical observation. Some suppliers sell machines that are used with their tests to provide a presumptive result to assist in human interpretation.

AMA CPT code for drug testing 80307 is for a presumptive drug testing through the use of instrument chemistry analyzers. This includes immunoassay, chromatography, and mass spectrometry.

Any patient that has a prescription for a narcotic or heavily abused non-narcotic drug should be given a urine drug screen prior to prescribing. It is up to the doctor which method is appropriate. The advantages to using point of care drug tests that are CLIA waived and can be read by staff and the results are immediate.

We suggest that positive tests are sealed and sent to a lab and confirmed with the use of instruments.

According to Palmetto GBA providers may ONLY perform and report one type of presumptive urine drug testing per patient. If you have a positive result send the sample in the cup for confirmation and charge for the appropriate CPT code for that service.

Tips for Successful Claim Submission for Drug of Abuse Testing

  • Include supporting documentation that shows the provider asking for a drug screen.
  • The patient’s medical record must support the use of all treatment codes.
  • The ordering physician must maintain documents indicating the medical necessity for performing a drug test.
  • Observe specimen donation to validate the authenticity of the sample.
  • Make sure your cups are CLIA waived, or that your employee administering the tests has proper certification
  • Make sure the wording for the service reported on the claim matches wording for the service ordered by the physician.
  • Each code represents all drugs and can be reported only once per date of service no matter how many devices were used.
  • A maximum of one presumptive urine drug test may be submitted and paid for each date of service. You cannot charge for an optically read test and again for a lab’s confirmation.
  • Specimen validity testing is not eligible to be separately billed under any procedure code, and is expected to be completed as part of testing.

 

 

 

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Dispelling Coronavirus Covid 19 Myths

coronavirus blood sample

Coronavirus Covid-19 has been dominating headlines and social media posts for several weeks now, and as the cases ramp up in the US it will only get worse. People have 24/7 access to news media and instant updates from Facebook.

With the glut of information most people are starting to feel like an expert on coronavirus and epidemiology, but even some experts are putting out false or misleading information. I am admittedly not an expert on the coronavirus or epidemiology, but when Doctors and healthcare professionals are posting false claims on Facebook and giving interviews with completely false information, I believe anyone with a handle on the facts should address it.

I began following the coronavirus pandemic on about January 10th. As the owner of a commercial business that sources products from China it was relevant to our orders that were in progress and future inventory concerns. I watched as the coronavirus case number grew from a couple hundred to approximately 20,000 as the official Chinese New Year came to a close.

There were some disruptions with our contacts (for example FedEx stopped running temporarily) but the majority of closures and disruption was isolated to the Hubei province. It seemed that our governments were doing a decent job of stopping the spread of the virus to the US public, but I knew it was serious once the CDC issued a briefing that said disruption to daily life might be severe.

The Coronavirus has been spreading in the US for Months

This is completely false without a shred of credibility.

What The Spread Looked Like In China

Coronavirus likely began in late November in Wuhan China which is located in the Hubei province. Covid 19 spread around a local wet market at first, but there were only 54 confirmed cases worldwide on January 3rd 2020. It began to spread quickly and confirmed cases started piling up through the month of January with only a handful of international cases.

Coastal provinces in China are relatively unscathed compared to Hubei which at the time of this writing has roughly half the world’s Coronavirus deaths. The world was able to stave off the spread for a time, but once several European countries became infected it became clear that the US would be unable to prevent the spread to the general public.

Entering The United States

Among the first US citizens infected were residents of the Life Care Center nursing home in Washington state.  Roughly 30% of those infected died there, which is a clear indication of a dangerous and unseen virus.

The general public has no immunity to Coronavirus, so even though it is mild when contracted by healthy young adults it still uses the public as a vector to reach communities of elderly people with existing health conditions. If Coronavirus had been spreading through the US unchecked since November we would have a scene that closely resembles Italy or Hubei by now, with entire hospitals overrun and healthcare staff having to turn away the worst patients because they tax the resources to a higher extent.

Flattening the Curve

Since the spread of Coronavirus closely matches the official narrative, the US has had time to prepare and begin limiting contact with crowds which will slow the spread immensely. Our outbreak is more likely to resemble the coastal Chinese provinces than Italy because of these preparations.

 

Coronavirus Map
Johns Hopkins has been publishing an interactive GIS map showing confirmed cases, deaths and recoveries worldwide since early January.

 

It took a little over a month for 1 case to ramp up to 50 confirmed. Many more people were carrying and transmitting the virus and as healthcare officials caught up with testing and information distribution there were 2,000-4,000 new cases being reported daily during the second half of January in China.

The demand was so severe in Hubei the government built a new hospital in 10 days. None of this happened in the US; frankly it’s ludicrous to insist that Coronavirus had been spreading under the guise of the Flu in the US for 2 months, died down a little and is now spreading just as the CDC (who says there was less than 100 cases in the US until February) has predicted it would.

The healthcare apparatus in the US has its problems but we are especially equipped for identifying and reporting new diseases. With the level of transparency and existing checks and balances Covid 19 would have quickly been identified and reported up the chain of command in the US.

Holding Your Breath for 10 Seconds is a Way to Diagnose Coronavirus Without a Test

This is one of the more ridiculous claims floating around the Internet. It is included in a long post that claims to be taken from advice given by experts in Taiwan. The Taiwan Fact Check Center has already debunked this claim and many experts have come out calling it ridiculous with zero merit.

Drinking Water Will Wash The Virus Into Your Stomach

The Coronavirus has an elegant design like most viruses it targets and attacks proteins and other cells as a host. You can’t wash away coronavirus no more than you can wash away throat cancer. Staying hydrated does have a positive effect on your immune system, but there is no indication that drinking water does anything other than that in relation to Covid 19.

Coronavirus is No Big Deal, the Flu is Deadlier

Coronavirus has spread across the entire planet in a little over 3 months killing on average 3% of patients with confirmed cases. The Flu has a mortality rate of approximately 0.1%, or 30 times less than Covid 19.

It’s even more startling that in clusters where the infected are elderly the virus has a mortality rate between 15% and 30%.

It’s also more easily transmitted than the Flu. Scientists measure the ease of transmission with the basic reproduction number which indicates how many people a single infected individual will infect on average. The Flu’s value is R1.9, and initial estimates for Coronavirus Covid 19 put its mean value at R3.28.

Disease mortality and ease of transmission graph
This graph shows the estimated mortality and ease of transmission or Covid 19 compared to other known diseases.

 

The Coronavirus has quickly shown that it’s far worse than the flu as a public health crisis; in Italy Coronavirus patients quickly filled hospital beds and caused a paradigm change in the way Italian Doctors prescribe and handle care. Older patients that would use a lot of time and resources and may still die would usually be high priority, but in this new paradigm they are left to die so healthcare workers can distribute care to those most likely to benefit.

Children Cannot Catch Coronavirus or Do not Get Symptoms

While the overall data does seem to show children are less likely to die from Coronavirus, initial studies indicated that children are just as likely to contract the disease. Children have shown milder symptoms.

I would like to point out that a correlation isn’t always the product of a cause; initial cases were most likely contracted by adults traveling in the public and during the second round their children became infected but did not exhibit severe symptoms and were likely overlooked. The CDC recommends the same measures to stop the spread of Coronavirus in children that they do in adults.

Pets Cannot Catch or Transmit Coronavirus

Although the World Health Organization believes that animals are not a primary driver of transmission, a dog in Hong Kong tested positive twice.

Coronaviruses have a history of spreading between different species, which includes the genesis of Covid 19. Cats and Ferrets were shown to be asymptomatic hosts of SARS capable of infecting other cats in the same cage.

You should assume that your pets are just as susceptible to contracting coronavirus as your children and implement measures to protect them, but there is nothing out there to indicate that you should get rid of your pets. Experts recommend following basic hygiene guidelines and wash your hands before and after touching a pet.

How Long Will Protective Measures Last?

Some good news seems to be on the Horizon. China has declared victory over the Coronavirus and for the most part travel restrictions there are being lifted.

During the first 20 days of February I watched as the number of confirmed cases rose by 2,000-4,000 each day. Toward the end of February that number started to slow, and now new cases are around 100-200 each day. The number of cases in the US now roughly correlates to the number that China had at the end of January when the virus really started to spread. This could indicate that within 6-8 weeks we will have seen the worst of it and Coronavirus will be on the way out.

 

President Trump Coronavirus Speech
President Trump has addressed the nation daily regarding the Coronavirus Pandemic. Proposed measures range from travel restrictions to a full on 6 week mandatory quarantine for the entire country.

 

Of course a major goal in slowing the spread is to not overwhelm healthcare resources. We could see a protracted situation nationally that spreads out to 3-4 months. It’s also likely that summer weather will have a positive effect on transmission rates.

Either way I expect the US to return to business as usual somewhere between the end of April and the beginning of June.

 

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Can You Catch Coronavirus From a Package

USPS Delivery man

Since the beginning of the Coronavirus Covid-19 Pandemic people have been worried about whether they can catch the virus from packages they received from China.

Can I catch Coronavirus from a Package That Originates in China?

The short answer is no. The conventional understanding was that Coronaviruses across the board could not live outside the body for more than a couple hours.  A recent federal study that was contributed to by a number of organizations found that Covid 19 specifically could remain viable on a stainless steel surface for 72 hours and on cardboard for 24 hours. Most packages come shipped in cardboard. The average shipping time for a package from China is 3 months total. During that time a full month is spent on a freight ship over the open ocean. The virus has no chance of surviving the trip.

Can I catch Coronavirus from the Mailman?

However now that Coronavirus Covid 19 has been spreading person to person within the United States, the surface of your packages could become contaminated by the carrier or the sender prior to shipment. If the shipment is longer than 24 hours it would have to be infected during the final day of transportation on the ground in your city. There is a real concern about mail carriers and other shipping company employees becoming sick and passing the disease onto others, but all major companies are adjusting their procedures to help protect both their employees and customers. For instance Drug Test City is only having one employee handle outgoing orders and they are screened for fever and symptoms daily. We are also treating packages with Lysol before they leave the warehouse.

 

Coronavirus cells under microscope
Coronavirus is named for the corona around the cell which acts as tentacles to attach each cell to target proteins.

 

You are far more likely to catch Coronavirus Covid-19 from a person you have made close contact with than from a package arriving in the mail, but if the package is sealed you can practically eliminate that risk by wearing gloves and treating your packages with spray Lysol and washing your hands. Wait 3-5 minutes after spraying before opening the package or handling without gloves and dispose of the gloves immediately.

I would suggest being cautious, but with proper sanitation and a simple disinfecting protocol you have nothing to worry about when it comes to the mail; you’re more likely to be infected by the mailman himself.

Tips for Dealing With Coronavirus Covid-19

  • Wash your hands with antibacterial soap and hot water.
  • Hard non-porous surfaces such as stainless steel transmit over 70% of pathogens. Clean them often.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Maintain a distance of 3 meters or 9 feet from other people when possible.
  • Disinfect packages at the door. Lysol spray is effective against Coronavirus.
  • Hand sanitizer needs to contain more than 60% alcohol to be effective.
  • The mortality rate is much higher amongst the elderly with existing health problems.
  • All of the measures in place are as much to slow the spread and ease the burden on the healthcare system as they are to try and stop the spread.
  • It is believed Covid 19 will slow dramatically during the summer like Influenza. Scientists have already developed vaccines. This should be over in a year or two.