Drug testing labs see evidence of people self-medicating almost every day, and people that do it must get around the drug testing system.
But there is one lab in Utah that can catch them.
Beechtree Diagnostics in Draper has the state’s only license to operate LCMS machines. They own three of them that can test 1,000 samples a day.
“So what we do is we do confirmatory testing,” said Michael Isom, an RN and Beechtree’s Clinical Educator.
Isom says unlike regular urine samples that only identify a certain class of a drug, Beechtree's machines break down what drug is in the body in an amount down to the exact molecule.
“So instead of it being positive or negative or pass fail, it's, 'hey I'm prescribing this, why isn't it there or why is this in your system,'” Isom said.
The detailed test results are then shown to doctors and pain management clinics.
Isom educates physicians on their patients' exact long term drug use trends.
"And it's a real discussion because that's what's fueling the drug problem is people are trading drugs — they're self-medicating," he said.
And doing anything to get the next fix or treat the next round of pain.
“Is it the next epidemic? It's already happening,” Isom said.