National Drug Early Warning System (NDEWS) Weekly Briefing


NDEWS awarded two administrative supplements

Last week, the NDEWS Coordinating Center was awarded two administrative supplements from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to expand our efforts to monitor new and emerging drug trends through two new initiatives: wastewater-based epidemiology and national Poison Control data.

Led by Dr. Tara Sabo-Atwood, the wastewater-based epidemiology initiative will coordinate the collection and analysis of wastewater samples from four NDEWS sentinel sites for known drugs/metabolites and new psychoactive substances using high-end mass spectrometry approaches. This proof-of-concept proposal will integrate wastewater-based epidemiology, an innovative and cost-effective approach, into the existing NDEWS framework. Additional information can be found on the project’s NIH RePORTER page.

In collaboration with the RADARS System® (Researched Abuse, Diversion, and Addiction-Related Surveillance), NDEWS will also obtain Poison Control data from 48 states to examine monthly trends in exposures related to the use of heroin, fentanyl and its analogs, cocaine, methamphetamine, and various new psychoactive substances. Current trends in drug-related exposures and deaths will be rapidly disseminated each month through the NDEWS Weekly Briefing and other outlets. More information is available on NIH RePORTER.

NDEWS Interviews

Today, NDEWS launches a new podcast series “NDEWS Interviews”. The series will offer interviews with key members of the NDEWS Coordinating Center, Scientific Advisory Group, and Sentinel Site Directors. We intend to learn more about the field of emerging drug trends through NDEWS Interviews. The first episode is with NDEWS Co-Investigator Dr. Joseph Palamar about his research with drug adulteration. Please subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.


Changes in characteristics of drug overdose death trends during the COVID-19 pandemic

A new study published in the International Journal of Drug Policy examined trends in overdose deaths in Massachusetts during COVID-19. The study reveals increased presence in overdose deaths involving increased amphetamine and alcohol. Read the full study here.

Longitudinal associations with alcohol consumption during the first COVID-19 lockdown: associations with mood, drinking motives, context of drinking, and mental health

A new study in Drug and Alcohol Dependence utilized an online survey to evaluate weekly alcohol consumption by participants. The study found those already drinking at hazardous levels and those who were drinking to cope were more likely to increase their consumption during COVID-19. Read the full study here.

COVID-19 pandemic impact on substance misuse: A social media listening, mixed method analysis

A new study published in Brain Sciences analyzed Reddit subreddits to investigate drug use issues for a six-month period during COVID-19. Cannabis, alcohol, psychedelics, opioids and cognitive enhancers were the most prevalent drugs found in this social media listening study. Read the full paper here.


NPS Discovery Toolkit - Metonitazene

Following a public health alert by NPS Discovery in January 2021, this week the organization released a toolkit regarding the proliferation of metonitazene. Metonitazene is a newer synthetic opioid and has been found in combination with fentanyl. The toolkit is intended as a one-stop source for all details about metonitazene. Find the toolkit here.

Sentanyl: a comparison of blood fentanyl concentrations and naloxone dosing after non-fatal overdose

A pilot study by Alex Krotulski from NDEWS collaborator NPS Discovery and team was published in Clinical Toxicology this week. Researchers evaluated emergency department patients who received naloxone following an overdose and who required intravenous access for their treatment. Of the enrolled, 95% were exposed to fentanyl prior to their overdose. Read the full study here.


Drug distributors and J&J reach $26 billion deal to end opioid lawsuits

The New York Times featured a story on the new agreement announced Wednesday afternoon by a bipartisan group of state attorneys general releasing three major drug distributors and Johnson & Johnson from all civil liability in the opioid epidemic. The $26 billion deal will fund addiction treatment and preventive services. A separate deal with Native American tribes is still being negotiated. Read the full article here.


NYC Sentinel Site Director Michelle Nolan will be presenting to the NY DOH/DPA/CDUHR Quarterly Briefing on Cocaine and Fentanyl: Overdose Prevention and Public Health Messaging on Wednesday, August 4, 2021 from 3 - 4:30pm. Register for the webinar here.

Follow NDEWS on Twitter: @NDEWSnews