National Drug Early Warning System (NDEWS) Weekly Briefing

 NEW PSYCHOACTIVE SUBSTANCES

NPS Discovery releases 2021 Quarter 3 trend reports

NPS Discovery released their most recent trend reports this week, which provide updated information regarding NPS prevalence and positivity based on analysis of forensic casework samples. In Q3 of 2021, etizolam was the most frequently identified NPS benzodiazepine, 2-Methyl AP-237 was the most frequently identified synthetic opioid, eutylone was the most frequently identified NPS stimulant, and MDMB-4en-PINACA was the most frequently identified synthetic cannabinoid. Read all the trend reports here.

RECENTLY PUBLISHED

Robustness of estimated access to opioid use disorder treatment providers in rural vs. urban areas of the United States

A new study published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence compared access to opioid use disorder treatment providers between rural and urban areas in the United States. Estimated drive time to the nearest 15 treatment providers was calculated using data from the federal government. It was found that the median driving time to the nearest provider was greater in rural areas than urban areas. This was true for both opioid treatment programs (61 min vs 12 min) and buprenorphine-waivered prescribers (21 min vs 5 min). Additionally, driving times in rural areas were found to increase more steeply as nearer providers became unavailable. Read the full study here.

Prescription opioid laws and opioid dispensing in U.S. counties: Identifying salient law provisions with machine learning

In a new study published in Epidemiology, a machine-learning approach was used to analyze 162 law provisions in the United States capturing prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) access, reporting and administration features, pain management clinic provisions, and prescription opioid limits. Results showed that PDMP patient access data provisions most consistently predicted high-dispensing and high-dose dispensing counties. Pain management clinic-related provisions did not generally predict dispensing measures in the prescription opioid phase but became more discriminant of high dispensing and high-dose dispensing counties over time, especially in the fentanyl period. Predictive performance across models was poor, suggesting prescription opioid laws alone do not strongly predict dispensing. Read the full study here.

Polysubstance use among patients treated with buprenorphine from a national urine drug test database

A study recently published in JAMA Network Open aimed to characterize factors and trends associated with urine drug positivity in nonprescribed substances among patients who were prescribed buprenorphine. Among the 150,000 urine specimens from patients prescribed buprenorphine that were analyzed, 71,373 (48%) tested positive for at least one nonprescribed substance. When compared to those whose specimens were not positive for buprenorphine, those with positive specimens were found to have significantly lower odds of testing positive for most nonprescribed substances. The strongest associations were found for fentanyl and heroin. Read the full study here.

Improved syringe disposal practices associated with unsanctioned safe consumption site use: A cohort study of people who inject drugs in the United States

A new study published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence assessed the improved syringe disposal practices associated with unsanctioned safe consumption sites. The study found that the rate of improperly disposed syringes per number of injections in the past 30 days was significantly lower among people who had used the unsanctioned safe consumption site during the same period. The authors note that these findings help address concerns that the implementation of safe consumption sites in the United States would lead to increases in improperly disposed syringes. Read the full report here.

Young people’s e-cigarette risk perceptions, policy attitudes, and past-month nicotine vaping in 30 U.S. cities

In a study published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence, a sample of young people from US cities were surveyed to estimate their e-cigarette risk perceptions, policy attitudes, and past-month nicotine vaping. The study found that e-cigarette policy attitudes were not associated with young people’s e-cigarette risk perceptions, attitudes toward flavored tobacco product policy, or likelihood of past-month nicotine vaping. Most past-month people who use, regardless of city policies, reported underage access to flavored e-cigarette products in retail locations. To decrease underage access to flavored vaping products, the authors note that consistent flavored e-cigarette policy must be enforced. Read the full study here.

IN THE NEWS

FDA permits marketing of e-cigarette products, marking first authorization of its kind by the agency

On October 122021, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it has authorized the marketing of three new tobacco products, marking the first set of electronic nicotine delivery system products ever to be authorized by the FDA through the Premarket Tobacco Production Application (PMTA) pathway. Under the PMTA pathway, manufacturers must demonstrate to the agency that marketing of the new tobacco products would be appropriate for the protection of the public health. According to the director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, the manufacturer’s data demonstrated that its tobacco-flavored products “could benefit addicted adult smokers who switch to these products––either completely or with a significant reduction in cigarette consumption––by reducing their exposure to harmful chemicals.” Read the full FDA press release here.

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