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Des Plaines, IL – United States Drug Testing Laboratory, Inc. (USDTL), a forensic laboratory specializing in drug and alcohol testing using advanced specimens, has released a new assay to detect zolpidem (Ambien®) use in fingernail and hair specimens. Previously available only in urine and oral-fluid specimens, zolpidem testing in fingernails and hair offers forensic drug testing professionals new, powerful tools to meet their drug testing needs.
Since its approval in 1993 for the treatment of insomnia, zolpidem has become one of the most popular and most prescribed sleep aids. Zolpidem is a sedative-hypnotic medication that affects the same areas of the brain as benzodiazepines. In 2011, 39 million prescriptions for zolpidem products were written in the United States. 
Zolpidem use carries some risks of harm, especially when taken in combination with other substances. The number of emergency department visits related to zolpidem grew by 136% from 2004 (12,792) to 2011 (30,149).  Other substances were involved in 57% of those ED visits, including benzodiazepines (26%), narcotic pain relievers (25%), and alcohol (14%). 
The development of zolpidem testing is driven by USDTL’s ongoing commitment to be a leader in substance abuse and alcohol detection. Zolpidem testing in fingernails and hair will be available on October 1st, 2014.
USDTL has made significant breakthroughs in detecting alcohol and other substances of abuse. They offer a wide range of testing services and specialize in hard to detect substances of abuse, customized assays, and advanced drug testing specimens.
1. IMS, Vector One: National (VONA) and Total Patient Tracker (TOT). Year 2011. Extracted June 2011.
2. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (May 1, 2013). Emergency Department Visits for Adverse Reactions Involving the Insomnia Medication Zolpidem. Rockville, MD.
3. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Drug Abuse Warning Network, 2011: National Estimates of Drug-Related Emergency Visits. HHS Publication No. (SMA) 13-4760, DAWN Series D-39. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2013.
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