National Drug Early Warning System (NDEWS) Weekly Briefing


Alert from NDEWS Web Monitoring Team: Increase in discussion of etonitazepipne

According to the NDEWS Web Monitoring Team, led by Dr. Elan Barenholtz and PhD candidate Paul Morris of the Machine Perception and Cognitive Robotics (MPCR) Lab at Florida Atlantic University, the drug etonitazepipne has emerged in drug Subreddit discussion following its appearance in online marketplaces. Etonitazepipne belongs to a class of opioids that includes the Schedule I drug etonitazene. An alert was disseminated regarding a similar NPS, etonitazepyne, in Issue 18 of the NDEWS Weekly Briefing (January 2021) after an increase in Reddit discussions. Etonitazepyne was subsequently linked to multiple overdose deaths by NPS Discovery. This recent trend in online mentions of etonitazepipne may signal an increase in real-world interest surrounding the newly available drug.

Methodological Note: Data are based on word counts derived from algorithmic monitoring of ~80 drug-oriented Subreddits. No personally identifiable or post-specific information is incorporated in this monitoring process.

Have you heard of etonitazepipne in your area? Let us know here.

Shifting awareness among electronic dance music party attendees that drugs may contain fentanyl or other adulterants

NDEWS Co-Investigator Dr. Joseph Palamar, NIDA T32 Predoctoral Fellow Nicole Fitzgerald, and NDEWS Principal Investigator Dr. Linda Cottler published an article in the International Journal of Drug Policy based on surveys of electronic dance music party attendees in NYC in 2018 and 2019. Their study found that agreement among attendees that cocaine might be contaminated with fentanyl significantly increased between 2018 and 2019. Read the full article here.


NFLIS and DEA Real-Time Communication Synth-Opioids Network Annual Report

The National Forensic Laboratory Information System (NFLIS) released an annual report from a collaboration of the DEA Real-Time Communication Synth-Opioids Network (Synth-Opioids) and NFLIS. During 2020, Synth-Opioids members discussed nine unknown substances, including synthetic cannabinoid 4F-MDMB-BICA and synthetic cathinone 4F-3-methyl-α-PVP. Find the full report here.

FDA advises consumers not to purchase or use nitrite “poppers”

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a consumer alert regarding nitrite "poppers." The FDA advises consumers not to use such products because they can result in serious adverse health effects, including death, when ingested. Read the full alert here.

 RI Gov. McKee signs legislation allowing safe-injection sites 

This week, Rhode Island Governor Daniel McKee signed into legislation a measure for safe-injection sites. The two-year pilot program is the first in the nation. The measure will be funded by private donors and foundations. Read an article from The Providence Journal here.


The association of type of cannabis product used and frequency of use with problematic cannabis use in a sample of young adult cannabis users

A new study published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence found that young adult cannabis users demonstrate distinct variations in their cannabis use. Combustible cannabis, vaporized cannabis, and blunt cannabis use were found to be most associated with risk for problematic cannabis use. Read the full study here.

Designer benzodiazepines: A review of toxicology and public health risks

A new study published in Pharmaceuticals reviewed public health incidents associated with designer benzodiazepines (DBZD). Over 30 DBZDs were evaluated. Etizolam, flualprazolam, flubromazolam, and phenazepam were identified in the majority of adverse events. Read the full study here.

Predictors of enrollment in opioid agonist therapy after opioid overdose or diagnosis with opioid use disorder: A cohort study

A new study published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence evaluated a cohort of Medicaid recipients who were involved with an opioid related event. Researchers found that the majority did not enroll in opioid agonist therapy within 6 months of the event. Read the full study here.

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