FREDERICKSBURG, Va. – Heroin use in neighborhoods across the nation went from a problem to what some health experts term an epidemic in the span of just a few years.
The problem has prompted local and state governments to react to the crisis of heroin and opioid overdose deaths, nearly 20 in every 100,000 people just last year according to new numbers from the Center for Disease Control. That's up from 13 overdose deaths per 100,000 in 2013 and 14 in 2014.
States of emergency have been enacted, resources for emergency care are more readily available to many first responders and a new emphasis on responsible use of opioid medications have been stressed in doctor’s offices and hospitals everywhere.
On Tuesday, though, President Donald Trump told Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price not to declare the opioid problem a public health emergency. On Thursday, Trump revised his assessment of the situation. On the recommendation of the council he asked to formed Trump declared the issue a national emergency.
In many homes, the threat of opioids, heroin and overdose deaths have prompted a rise in the number of direct to consumer lab tests. The industry brought in $15 million dollars 7 years ago. It is now a $130 million-dollar industry and expected to grow exponentially over the next few years.
One of those companies is Any Lab Test Now, with one location in Fredericksburg. Owner Cathy Hoskins said STD and DNA tests still outnumber drug tests in her office but that could be changing based on how many drug tests are being ordered.
Companies like ALTW can test for drugs in a variety of different ways like the ways listed below.
• Hair Follicle Drug Test: It takes 7 days for ingested drugs to begin showing in hair strands. A test of hair strands can determine if someone has used as far back as three months. This test is a great choice if a parent wants to know if their teen has been using drugs for a longer period of time or if they think their child knew they were going to get drug tested and just stopped using to get through the test.
• Finger Nail Test: It takes 2 weeks for ingested drugs to begin showing in fingernails. Nail clippings can determine if someone has used as far back as six months.
• Urine test: Good choice if parent believes the teen has used within the last 24 to 72 hours.
Hoskins said she has seen families find relief through her lab. She said those parents would rather have a concrete answer and address a drug issue within their families than continue to worry and wonder.
“People are dying,” said Hoskins. “You see it every day and parents are afraid.”