National Drug Early Warning System (NDEWS) Weekly Briefing

Issue 1: August 28, 2020


Eutylone: An emerging synthetic cathinone

Eutylone (bk-EBDB) remains one of the most commonly identified NPS stimulants. A recent NFLIS Drug Snapshot report (June 2020) shows that eutylone was the most-reported synthetic cathinone between April 1, 2020, and June 30, 2020. NPS Discovery, a program developed by the Center for Forensic Science Research and Education (CFSRE) in collaboration with NMS Labs, published a monograph on eutylone in September 2018.

NDEWS Co-Investigator Dr. Bruce Goldberger and NDEWS Scientific Advisory Group Member Dr. Barry Logan, along with other collaborators at NMS Labs and CFSRE, recently published an article in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology on eutylone, which was identified in 83 forensic investigations from thirteen U.S. states. Florida accounted for 60% of the positive cases. "Laboratories should be aware that eutylone may be present in cases of suspected Ecstasy, 'Molly,' and/or MDMA use, causing or contributing to impairment or death." Read the article here.

Newly identified benzodiazepine NPS: Adinazolam

NPS Discovery announced the identification of adinazolam, a novel benzodiazepine, on August 11. From the recently published monograph: "Adinazolam is classified as a novel benzodiazepine due to its recent emergence among forensic investigations (n=3) in the United States." While adinazolam is structurally distinct from traditional benzodiazepines, "its structure may be considered most similar to alprazolam, the difference being the addition of an aminoalkyl- group to the triazole ring." Download the full report here.

The goal of CFSRE's NPS Discovery program is the early identification of NPS in seized drug and/or forensic toxicology casework samples using various analytical techniques. Information about the program and an archive of newly reported substances can be found on their website.


New CDC report: Nonfatal drug and polydrug overdoses treated in emergency departments increased from 2018 to 2019

According to a new Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) from the CDC, rates of emergency department-treated nonfatal drug overdoses involving opioids, cocaine, and amphetamine increased in the U.S. from 2018 to 2019, while rates of benzodiazepine-involved overdoses declined.

The report found that opioids were "substantially co-involved with cocaine, amphetamine, and benzodiazepines overdoses in 2019; 23.6%, 17.1%, and 18.7% of cocaine-, amphetamine-, and benzodiazepine-involved overdoses, respectively, involved opioids." Read the full report here.

Virtual raves and happy hours during COVID-19: New drug use contexts for electronic dance music partygoers

A new study led by NDEWS Co-Investigator and Scientific Advisory Group Chair Dr. Joseph Palamar, published in the International Journal of Drug Policy, is the first to examine drug use during virtual raves and happy hours as a result of lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic. Researchers found that among the electronic dance music (EDM) partygoers surveyed in New York City (n=128), 40.9% of those who attended virtual raves used illegal drugs, including cannabis (29.2%), ecstasy, MDMA, or Molly (8.5%), LSD (7.0%), and cocaine (4.2%). Read the article here.



New analysis from Quest Diagnostics: Workforce drug testing positivity climbed to highest rate in 16 years

Quest Diagnostics has released a new interactive map for its 2019 Drug Testing Index, a comprehensive analysis of workforce drug use trends. The map shows urine drug test positivity by 3-digit zip code in the U.S. for 2007–2019, both overall and for six drugs/categories: amphetamines, cocaine, marijuana, opiates, PCP, and 6-AM (heroin metabolite). Read the press release here.

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