National Drug Early Warning System (NDEWS) Weekly Briefing


NPS Discovery announces identification of two new novel hallucinogens: F-PCP, CI-PCP

NPS Discovery released an alert yesterday regarding the identification of two new NPS in the US. Both are classified as novel hallucinogens, which are reported to have effects similar to ketamine and phencyclidine (PCP). Cl-PCP has been identified in at least two toxicology cases since December 2020, and F-PCP has been identified in at least one toxicology case. Read the published monographs for F-PCP and CI-PCP.


DEA TOX Quarterly Report

The Drug Enforcement Administration’s Toxicology Testing Program (DEA TOX) released their fourth quarter report for 2020 this week. DEA TOX began in May 2019 as a surveillance program aimed at detecting NPS within the United States. The program identified and confirmed a total of 245 drugs and metabolites, which consisted of 120 NPS detections, 42 traditional illicit drug detections, and 83 prescription or over-the-counter drug detections. The synthetic cannabinoid 4-CN-AMB-BUTINACA was first detected by DEA TOX in the reporting period. Read the full report here.



Prevalence of opioid-related visits to US emergency departments

Researchers published a study in Drug and Alcohol Dependence using the National Emergency Department Sample (NEDS) dataset to estimate the number of adult emergency department (ED) visits for both opioid poisonings and other opioid-related diagnoses during 2016 and 2017; the most recent publicly available data. The study found that approximately one of every 80 visits to the ED were opioid-related. The study also evaluated charges made for opioid-related visits for the two years. They accounted $4.78 billion annually, with Medicaid and Medicare responsible for 66% of all charges. Read the full study here.

Impact of an unsanctioned safe consumption site on criminal activity, 2010–2019

Another study published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence documented criminal activity after an unsanctioned safe consumption site (SCS) opened in the US. Approximately 177 SCS currently operate with formal legal sanction in 14 countries around the world. Researchers found that over a five year period, police incidents and criminal activity decreased in the area of the SCS. Read the full study here.


McKinsey settles for $573 million over role in opioid crisis

The consultant to Purdue Pharmaceuticals settled an agreement with attorneys general in 47 states, the District of Columbia, and five territories on Thursday. McKinsey and Company do not admit wrongdoing, according to the settlement, but will agree to court-ordered restrictions on its work with some types of addictive narcotics. Read the full article here.


An alternative to 911: Atlanta 311 line now takes non-emergency mental health, drug calls

The Atlanta Police Department’s Policing Alternatives and Diversion Initiative (PAD) has partnered with the city services hotline 311 to report community concerns related to mental health, substance use, or extreme poverty. The initiative began in 2017 as a two-year pilot program and has helped over 200 people who were set to be arrested for minor offenses by diverting them to resources like a homeless shelter or rehabilitation program to address substance abuse issues. Read the full article here.


Democratic senators will push to pass marijuana reform bill this year

Three US Senators announced this week their intent to pass comprehensive legislation that would end the federal prohibition on marijuana. The legislation would also provide restorative justice for people who have been convicted of marijuana-related crimes. Read the full article here.

NJ Senate approves bill aimed at preventing OD deaths

New Jersey is headed to join seven other states in requiring doctors to prescribe naloxone when writing opioid pain management prescriptions. The bill, which is recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), in its “Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain” passed the NJ Senate this week. It will move now to the state House of Representatives. Read the full article here.

Armstrong Bill to reduce overdoses in New Mexico passes Health Committee

New Mexico State Representative Debbie Armstrong authored HR Bill 123 addressing safe injection sites and this week it passed the House Health and Human Services Committee. The bill directs the Committee to establish guidelines to set up safe-injection sites by city or county. Read Rep. Armstrong’s press release here.


NDEWS is currently recruiting for a NIDA T32 Postdoctoral Fellow, available immediately. Visit this link to apply.

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