Feds Approve DNA Test To Screen For Opioid Use Disorder

(LibertySociety.com) – Opioid addiction in the United States has reached its highest levels in recent years, prompting government health agencies to explore various avenues for prevention. While some users may have fallen into addiction after using opioids recreationally, millions become addicted after taking prescribed opioids after undergoing surgery.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved a first-of-its-kind DNA test to determine if an individual has a higher risk of becoming addicted to opioids. The test is called the AutoGenomics AvertD, which looks for a specific genetic variant combination that could be linked to developing an opioid addiction.

The FDA rejected a different version of the test just last year based on data surrounding the efficacy and safety of the test. However, the new version was accepted by the advisory panel this time, but not without precautions. The FDA advised that the test should never be used to solely determine whether a person should or should not receive pain medication. Instead, it should only be used with a full medical evaluation and after conducting a risk assessment of the patient.

The test is performed with a simple cheek swab, like any other DNA test. Additionally, patients receiving treatment for chronic pain are not viable candidates for the test. The FDA cautioned that false positives could result in patients not receiving the proper pain management options following a procedure. Contrarily, false negatives could lead to providers prescribing pain medications to people who could become addicted.

In 2022 alone, 110,236 people died in the United States from opioid overdoses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sounded the alarm on the growing concern, finally catching the attention of the Biden administration.

The massive increase in overdose deaths has been attributed to the incessant flow of fentanyl coming across the southern border of the United States. The Department of Justice began cracking down on Chinese manufacturers that make the precursors for the deadly drug, which is then shipped around the world, ultimately landing in Mexico where fentanyl is made. A global effort to disrupt the trafficking networks is also underway.

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