Back to Top Skip to main content

DoD adds fentanyl to drug testing panel

An Airman from the 436th Air Wing inspects a bottle before being asked to provide a urine sample November 8, 2019. The DoD has a zero tolerance policy for the illegal or improper use of drugs by service members. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicole Leidholm) An Airman from the 436th Air Wing inspects a bottle before being asked to provide a urine sample November 8, 2019. The DoD has a zero tolerance policy for the illegal or improper use of drugs by service members. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicole Leidholm)

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Medical Examiner System | Substance Abuse

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. — The Department of Defense implemented new policy in March 2019 to direct all service Drug Demand Reduction Program labs to test for fentanyl and norfentanyl.

The DoD has a zero tolerance policy for the illegal or improper use of drugs by service members. Because of this, all U.S. service members are subject to random urinalysis testing.

When trends start to be seen in society, the DoD looks at the potency and lethality of the drug, before being considered for additional testing on the panel, said Navy Capt. Eric R. Welsh, Office of Drug Demand Reduction director.

Fentanyl is an opioid, similar to heroin. It is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine.

“Fentanyl and its metabolite, norfentanyl, have garnered national attention lately because of fentanyl’s growing popularity and potential lethality,” said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Katherine Dozier, Armed Forces Medical Examiner System Special Forensic Toxicology Drug Testing Laboratory chief. “This, combined with the emergence of fentanyl and norfentanyl in SFTDTL’s DoD surveillance testing, led the Office of Drug Demand Reduction to petition for fentanyl’s addition to the standard DDRP drug testing panel.”

The five service branch DDRPs and the AFMES SFTDTL began fentanyl screening in June 2019.

“Very small quantities of fentanyl can have significant effects,” said Dozier. “The illicit drug trade is aware of this, and has used fentanyl to cheaply adulterate heroin, cocaine, and other illicit drugs to enhance effects.”

The SFDTL at AFMES provides surveillance testing for the DoD, as well as civilian populations through approved collaborations.

“The SFDTL determines current drug trends and confirmation testing for the five service DDRP labs,” said Dozier. “We confirm fentanyl and its metabolite, norfentanyl, as well as synthetic cannabinoids, commonly called Spice or K2.”

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, Spice and K2 are often called marijuana or “fake weed” because some of its chemicals are like those in marijuana, however, the effects can be unpredictable and in some cases, severe or even life-threatening.

“Robust, frequent and random drug testing of our personnel is one of our greatest weapons against drug use,” said Welsh. “Even though the Department tests for more drugs than ever before, the positive rate was the lowest observed in 20 years at 0.84 percent.”

According to DoD instruction 1010.16, drug testing is used to permit commanders to assess the security, military fitness, readiness, good order and discipline of their commands and allow commanders to take disciplinary or administrative action as appropriate.

“Illicit drug use by service members is a national security threat and a health and safety concern,” said Dozier. “Many of these drugs have been shown to affect decision-making, risk-taking, and levels of consciousness. For the well-being of every service member and every U.S. citizen they defend, illicit drug use in the military must be taken seriously.”

When a service member is asked to submit a urine sample for testing, it is done at their location’s DDRP. The sample is then shipped to the one of the five service branch FTDTLs, where it is tested via immunoassay, the same scientific technique used in pregnancy tests that allows for an answer of either negative or presumptive positive.

“If a specimen tests presumptively positive on the immunoassay for synthetic cannabinoids or fentanyl, it is sent to SFTDTL for confirmation,” said Dozier. “We confirm these specimens using Liquid Chromatography Tandem Mass Spectrometry.”

The spectrometer is able to positively identify and measure the amount of fentanyl or norfentanyl in urine specimens, which leads to a positive result reported.

“If there is a positive result for a prescription drug, such as fentanyl, the result will be forwarded to the medical review officer to determine if the use of the prescription is legitimate,” said Pamela Iseminger, 436th Air Wing DDRP manager. “If there is no medical documentation in the members file to substantiate the positive test, the unit commander will meet with the member to provide written notice of the positive result.”

Then, the member is provided 30 calendar days to produce any medical records or other documentation which may justify the positive result, said Iseminger.

“The DDRP directly impacts mission readiness,” said Iseminger. “It acts as the focal point for installation level drug urinalysis testing and drug prevention programs and ensures a work place free of illicit drugs use and provides a mission-ready fighting force at all times.”

Disclaimer: Re-published content may be edited for length and clarity.  Read original post.

 

You also may be interested in...

Health agencies investigating severe lung illnesses linked to e-cigarette use

Article
9/12/2019
"While the CDC investigation of the possible cases of lung illness and deaths reportedly associated with the use of e-cigarette products is ongoing, Service members and their families or dependents are encouraged not to use e-cigarette products,” advised Dr. Terry Adirim, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Health Services Policy and Oversight. (DoD photo)

Thirty-three states report 450 possible cases, six deaths

Recommended Content:

Tobacco-Free Living | Substance Abuse | Public Health

Folklore vampire possibly identified

Article
8/12/2019
Dr. Kristen E. Pearlstein, Collections Manager, National Museum of Health and Medicine displays remains of “JB-55” during a Science Café at the museum, Silver Spring, Maryland. “JB-55” remains were that of a suspected “vampire” in the mid-1800s. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Robert M. Trujillo)

According to legend, residents of Jewett City, Connecticut, were being terrorized by recently deceased vampires

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Medical Examiner System | Office of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner

Colony Glacier: Joint team unearths lost service members

Article
7/17/2019
Recovery team members traverse Colony Glacier, Alaska, June 2019. The recovery team was searching for remains from a C-124 Globemaster II that crashed into Gannett Mountain, Alaska, on Nov. 22, 1952, while flying from McChord Air Force Base, Washington, to Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska resulting in the loss of 52 service members. (Courtesy photo)

This is part one of a two-part series on the Colony Glacier recovery efforts

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Medical Examiner System | Office of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner

Histology: Where art and science merge

Article
6/13/2019
Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Tyler Wiedmeyer, Armed Forces Medical Examiner System histotechnichian, looks at slides of tissues under a microscope before handing them off to a medical examiner June 6, 2019. The stained tissues help medical examiners see down to the cellular level for a diagnosis of cause of death. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicole Leidholm)

Without a histotechnician, tissue processing would take much longer to be completed

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Medical Examiner System | Office of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner

Armed Forces Medical Examiner System Consultation Request Form

Form/Template
5/22/2019

Medical information received is considered during the consultative process and is used to form a database for education and research in pathology.

Recommended Content:

Office of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner | Armed Forces Medical Examiner System

AFRSSIR Supply Order Request

Form/Template
5/22/2019

Fill out this request to place and order with the Armed Forces Repository of Specimen Sample for the Identification of Human Remains

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Repository of Specimen Samples for the Identification of Remains (AFRSSIR) | Specimen Collection Supplies Ordering Instructions | Armed Forces Medical Examiner System

AFMES celebrates lab week

Article
5/8/2019
The purpose of lab week is to increase public awareness of the importance of laboratory professionals and their role in clinical diagnostics and medicine. The exceptional efforts and behind-the-scenes work of laboratories is essential to protecting public health. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicole Leidholm)

AFMES celebrated its lab week by embracing science and lab techs

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Medical Examiner System

Dignity, reverence, respect: The mortuary affairs specialist

Article
4/18/2019
Army Cpl. Daveson Tamanyon, 54th Quartermaster Company mortuary affairs specialist, lays out a U.S. Army uniform during a training exercise at the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System, Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. Soldiers in this career field perform duties related to deceased personnel, including searching for fallen and missing service members, helping to disinter remains and assist in the preparation and preservation of remains. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicole Leidholm)

Soldiers in this career field perform duties related to deceased personnel

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Medical Examiner System

DHA PI 6025.15: Management of Problematic Substance Use by DoD Personnel

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Procedural Instruction (DHA-PI), based on the authority of References (a) and (b), and in accordance with the guidance of References (c) through (aa), establishes the Defense Health Agency’s (DHA) procedures to assign responsibilities for problematic alcohol and drug use identification, diagnosis, and treatment for DoD military personnel.

  • Identification #: 6025.15
  • Date: 4/16/2019
  • Type: DHA Procedural Instruction
  • Topics: Substance Abuse

Breaking the pain cycle

Article
4/9/2019
Ashley Blake, an acupuncture nurse at Naval Hospital Pensacola’s Pain Management Clinic, treats a patient with Battlefield Acupuncture (BFA), one of many opioid alternatives offered at many treatment facilities in the Military Health System. BFA consists of inserting five tiny and sterile 2 mm needles into specific points of the ear where they can remain for up to three days. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Brannon Deugan)

Live in agony or risk addiction? MHS pain management initiatives offer options

Recommended Content:

Prescription Monitoring Program | Mental Wellness | Mental Health Care | Substance Abuse | Physical Disability | Warrior Care | Opioid Safety | Pain Management

AFMES, DPAA shares missions with service members, families

Article
2/6/2019
Todd Livick, Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency Outreach and Communications director, speaks to U.S. Army Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape instructors about the DPAA mission at the U.S. Army S.E.R.E. school, Fort Rucker, Alabama. The DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System provided information on their respective missions and held question and answer session with the Soldiers to provide a better understanding about the two agencies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicole Leidholm)

They’re all here for the same reason; to bring their loved one home

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Medical Examiner System | Office of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner

Positive identification is assured

Article
11/21/2018
Air Force Tech. Sgt. Ricky Penuelaz, 59th Medical Wing lab technician, uses a pipette to put blood on an Air Force trainee’s DNA card. The Armed Forces Medical Examiner System-Armed Forces Repository of Specimen Samples of the Identification of Remains inspected Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, on the collection of DNA cards. AFMES-AFRSSIR is responsible for managing, coordinating and maintaining the collection of DNA blood reference cards for all active duty, reserve, and National Guard service members. This is done when service members first enter the military and is collected at one of nine basic training sites, dependent on their branch of service. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicole Leidholm)

The goal of the DNA cards is to never have an ‘unknown soldier’ or unknown military member ever again

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Medical Examiner System

To drink, or not to drink

Article
11/9/2018
If you are battling substance abuse, consider attending an alcohol-free holiday party or host your own alcohol-free small gathering

If you are battling substance abuse, consider attending an alcohol-free holiday party or host your own alcohol-free small gathering

Recommended Content:

Substance Abuse

AFMES participates in 'Safe and Sound' week

Article
8/27/2018
Air Force Tech Sgt. Aisuluu Alford (left) and Army Staff Sgt. Joseph Tutt, both Armed Forces Medical Examiner System forensic toxicology laboratory technicians, grab supplies out of the Shelter-In-Place Kit during a Shelter-In-Place exercise. The exercise was part of Safe and Sound week where AFMES personnel were able to engage in different safety activities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicole Leidholm)

Safe and Sound Week is a nationwide campaign to raise awareness and understanding of safety and health programs within the workplace

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Medical Examiner System | Office of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner

AFMES DoD DNA Operations Fact Sheet 2018

Fact Sheet
8/22/2018

This Fact Sheet describes the purpose of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System's Department of Defense DNA Operations

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Medical Examiner System | Office of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner | DoD DNA Operations | DNA Identification Laboratory
<< < 1 2 3 > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 3

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing: Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.