National Drug Early Warning System (NDEWS) Weekly Briefing


NPS Discovery identifies synthetic benzodiazepine deschloroetizolam in the United States 

NPS Discovery issued an alert regarding the first identification of deschloroetizolam in the US this week. Deschloroetizolam is classified as a novel benzodiazepine. According to data from NPS Discovery, deschloroetizolam has been identified in at least 10 toxicology samples since mid-2020. Read the full alert here.


Drug checking at dance festivals: A review with recommendations to increase generalizability of findings.

NDEWS Co-Investigator Dr. Joseph Palamar and team published a literature review of drug checking at dance festivals yesterday in Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology. After reviewing drug checking studies at festivals published in the last five years, the team found that the results of these studies were limited by self-selected samples. Recommendations for future studies include expanding beyond the self-selection model by using recruitment methods that involve random sampling techniques. Read the full review here.   

The embodiment of wastewater data estimates illegal drug consumption in Spain 

A study published in Science of the Total Environment this week evaluated monitoring wastewater data for illegal drugs in Spain. Researchers found that methamphetamine and MDMA positively correlated with population size and number of seizures. The implementation of a wastewater monitoring program at the national level may help to gain better understanding of emerging drug trends. Read the full study here.  

Street-drug lethality index: A novel methodology for predicting unintentional drug overdose fatalities in population research

Another study published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence looked at drug seizures and unintentional drug overdose deaths in Ohio from 2009–2018. The authors found that seizure data, reported monthly, can predict emerging drug trends earlier than annual data from death registries. Read the full study here.

An analysis of drugs in used syringes from sentinel European cities: results from the European Syringe Collection and Analysis Project Enterprise (ESCAPE) project, 2018 and 2019 

The European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) published a report from the ESCAPE project this week. Researchers found that injected substances vary between cities, and a third of the syringes tested contained residues of two or more substances from different drug categories in 2018 and 2019. The results also showed a high proportion of stimulants in the syringes tested in each of the cities. Read the full report here.


African Americans and opioid‐involved overdose deaths: a comparison of temporal trends from 1999 to 2018

A study published in Addiction estimated racial differences in rates of opioid‐involved overdose deaths (OOD) between whites and African Americans in the US from 1999 to 2018. The study showed that while whites have a higher prevalence of OOD, the change in the rate of OOD is increasing more rapidly among African Americans than among whites. Read the full study here. 


Dr. Jane Maxwell, NDEWS collaborator, shared this: “The US DEA estimates that 85% of the methamphetamine consumed in the U.S. now comes from Mexico. Production of methamphetamine originally was cold medicine containing pseudoephedrine and was made by “smurfers” in the US (in bathtubs and shacks in the backyard), but now methamphetamine is made in Mexico from phenyl-2-propone (P2P), which requires skilled chemists. The potency of the P2P methamphetamine has now reached 93% in the first half of 2020, according to DEA’s Methamphetamine Profiling Program. P2P has been illegal in the US since Ross Perot’s “war on drugs” and very little P2P is available in the US to cook meth. The Cartels control the availability of P2P and it is used to produce methamphetamine in Mexico that is then sold in the US.” 

The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) in Vienna are readers of the Weekly Briefing and are seeking information on etonitazepyne and any other novel opioids. Please send us news from your community!


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