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Psychemedics Data From Ecstasy Drug Testing Results Indicates an Even More Serious Problem.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Psychemedics Corporation, the world's leading laboratory for testing hair for the presence of drugs of abuse has, for over a year and a half, been testing for Ecstasy using its patented hair analysis. Psychemedics' hard data demonstrates that the severity of the Ecstasy problem in America is more alarming than previously thought. Recently, a survey of teenagers nationwide by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, as announced in USA Today, found that 12% admit to have tried Ecstasy at least once, up from 10% in 2000 and 5% in 1995.

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The Partnership for a Drug-Free America is launching its national advertising campaign - the first ever to focus on Ecstasy - based on this recent survey of teens. The hard data that Psychemedics has gathered during its year and a half of testing further illuminates the seriousness and danger of the Ecstasy problem.

In July of 2000 Psychemedics became the first laboratory to begin testing for Ecstasy as part of their standard drug testing panel. Psychemedics' hair test screen includes five drugs of abuse in addition to Ecstasy, including marijuana, cocaine (as well as crack cocaine), opiates (heroin), methamphetamine (speed and uppers, and now Ecstasy) and PCP (angel dust). Since drug testing with urinalysis does not automatically include Ecstasy, the hard data available on Ecstasy use as a result of drug testing has come from Psychemedics Corporation and its patented hair analysis method.

Psychemedics' hair test results demonstrated that when Ecstasy screening was added to the normal testing panel, the number of positives in the methamphetamine category almost doubled.

Raymond C. Kubacki, President and C.E.O. of Psychemedics said, "We found that 41% of Ecstasy users also abused one or more other illegal substances. This indicated that, as many had suspected, Ecstasy is likely a gateway drug. This being the case, Ecstasy should be viewed as an even greater threat both here in the U.S. and abroad."

Mr. Kubacki further commented that while most of the surveys and news articles focus on Ecstasy use among teens, the Psychemedics data showed that the overwhelming majority of positives were found in their pre-employment testing, indicating Ecstasy use is in a broader population than previously anticipated. It appears that Ecstasy is more than a teenage drug problem.

Mr. Kubacki also noted the national ad campaign sponsored by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America will certainly act as a deterrent, but he also indicated that drug testing for Ecstasy should be considered a very important tool.

"The goal for all involved is deterring kids from trying this drug. We must use every tool and technology available," Mr. Kubacki said. "The national advertising campaign of the Partnership for a Drug-Free America makes a powerful statement and will be effective."

"We also believe that our drug test provides another effective deterrent," Mr. Kubacki concluded. "This hits home when you look at the February 10th cover story in New York Times Magazine entitled, "Drug Fix: Does Rehab Actually Work?" The article indicates that one third of the patients of a major treatment network leave without completing the treatment program - even if it means going to jail and that, among those who do finish, few abstain for long. The article refers to a study mandated by Congress which found that more than half the cocaine addicts and nearly two-thirds of those addicted to both heroin and cocaine were using drugs within a year of treatment, and quotes a drug abuser in rehab who, when asked about staying off drugs, said his chances were 'fifty-fifty' at best.' We believe public awareness, promulgated by important initiatives like the Partnership for a Drug-Free America advertising campaign, as well as an effective drug testing program, can work hand in hand to provide the tools necessary to beat Ecstasy use."

Psychemedics currently serves over 2,200 corporations (over 10% of the Fortune 500), which use hair testing to support their drug-free workplace initiatives. In addition, four of the country's largest police departments, as well as five Federal Reserve Banks, use Psychemedics' drug testing technology. Urine testing can normally detect drug use for only one to three days after ingestion while hair testing will detect drug use for the previous several months. Unlike urinalysis, simple short-term abstention will not beat the test. Drug detection rates for the Psychemedics hair test are up to 5-10 times greater than urine testing. Additionally, employees and schools throughout the U.S. report that when those tested learn that hair testing (unlike urinalysis) cannot be foiled, the hair test serves as a very significant and cost-effective deterrent.
 Raymond C. Kubacki
 President and Chief Executive Officer
 (617) 868-7455

Contact: Raymond C. Kubacki, President and Chief Executive Officer of Psychemedics, +1-617-868-7455

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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Feb 12, 2002
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