The global pandemic of 2020-2021 resulted in social isolation, healthcare service closures and disrupted drug trafficking. It is postulated that these issues fueled the increase in overdose deaths in adults and adolescents. Over the past years, a convergence of factors, including the legalization of cannabis across the USA (more than 40% of Americans live in a jurisdiction where medical or recreational cannabis is legal), illicit fentanyl and synthetic opioids and stimulant-related deaths have been a driver of overdose deaths. This combination of stimulants, depressants, alcohol, designer drugs, and prescription medications is commonly referred to as “polysubstance use.”

This 2-part webinar will help in the understanding of what a opioid and opiate drug screening test can detect to support laboratory medicine specialists. 

Learning objectives:

  • What is polysubstance use, how it relates to opioid crisis, and understanding the importance and fundamental principles of cross-reactivity and drug pharmacology in drug testing of opiates and opioids.
  • What the drug testing screen identifies (Rx or OTC), what test to order, and what drugs could cross-react with opioid assay.
  • Review the pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and the different routes of administration of opioids (clinical or illicit). 
  • Recognize the biotransformation pathways for opioids and understand the mechanisms for the effects of opioids.

The opinions expressed in this webinar are the personal opinions of the presenters and do not represent the views of any employer they may have had in their professional life.

Complete the form below to access the webinar recording.

Pat Pizzo is an independent forensic toxicology consultant and renowned industry expert with more than 50 years’ experience. She has conducted laboratory work for the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Washington, DC and is an active member of, advisor to, and participant in many technical and professional organizations of forensic toxicology. Ms. Pizzo is a Board-Certified Forensic Examiner, has been certified as an expert witness in Federal (22 states) and State (17) courts/proceedings and has testified throughout the country. She is frequently called upon to serve as an inspector for the National Laboratory Certification Program and the College of American Pathologists Forensic Urine Drug Testing Program.

Dr. Eagerton received his Doctorate in Pharmacology in 1992 from the University of South Carolina. In February of 1993 he joined the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) as a Forensic Toxicologist, and served as Chief Toxicologist, overseeing the SLED Toxicology Department, from August 1997 until his retirement in September 2009. Dr. Eagerton is a graduate of the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy and is Board Certified in Forensic Toxicology. He has authored numerous publications and presentations in the fields of Forensic Toxicology and Pharmacology. He has testified as an expert in the fields of Toxicology and Pharmacology in Magistrate, General Sessions, Federal, and U.S. Military courts and has served as an Expert Witness Faculty Member at the National District Attorneys Association National Advocacy Center.

Pat Pizzo

Pat Pizzo
Toxicologist and former member of the Federal Drug Testing Advisory Board (DTAB)

David H. Eagerton

David H. Eagerton
PhD, F-ABFT, Associate Professor of Pharmacology, VCOM - Carolinas Campus
Laboratory Director – LifeHope Labs