National Drug Early Warning System (NDEWS) Weekly Briefing

NDEWS ORIGINAL CONTENT

Hotspot Alerts: March 11-25, 2022

NDEWS Hotspot Alerts is a dynamic notification system that quantifies the degree to which the observation deviates from the expected range of values over an 84-day window provided by biospatial.io. During the two-week period of March 11-25, 2022, eight counties saw higher-than-expected rates of drug-related 911 dispatches: Maricopa, AZ, Jefferson, KY, Pasco, FL, Broward, FL, Pinellas, FL, Brevard, FL, Wayne, MI, and Stanislaus, CA. View the full report here.

Alert from the NDEWS Web Monitoring Team: Online mentions of Ephedrine vs. Pseudoephedrine vs. P2P

Context: This alert was prompted by a call for information from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) on differences between ephedrine- vs. P2P-derived methamphetamine.

What are Ephedrine, Pseudoephedrine, and P2P? Ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, and P2P are precursor drugs used in the production of methamphetamine.

What was found? The related drug terms ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, and P2P saw concurrently elevated discussion levels on Reddit in Fall 2021 and Spring 2022.

How is it being discussed? Concurrent discussion of multiple drug terms affiliated with methamphetamine production suggests new interest in potentially different forms/effects of methamphetamine produced through differing synthesis pathways.

Drug Terms: Ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, P2P.

Highlighted last week in the NDEWS Weekly Briefing, the International Narcotics Control Board recently published their annual report on precursors and chemicals frequently used in the illicit manufacture of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. Read the full report here.

Methodological Note: Data was collected and analyzed by 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. Metrics 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. For more methodological details, see our recent publication.

NEW PSYCHOACTIVE SUBSTANCES

NPS Discovery Drug Checking Report (Q1 2022): Philadelphia, Pennsylvania US

NPS Discovery, in collaboration with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, published a new report on the drug supply in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for Quarter 1 of 2022. This report is designed to provide near-real time and actionable data based on drug testing results from samples obtained within the city to help promote timely and appropriate public health and public safety preparedness and response. Read the full report here.

WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence: Forty-fourth report

The World Health Organization published the meeting report of the 44th Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) this week. The ECDD reviewed five new psychoactive substances, including one synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonist (4F-MDMB-BICA), two novel synthetic opioids (brorphine and metonitazene), and two canthinones/stimulants (eutylone and benzylone). Read the full report here.

EMCDDA report on the risk assessment of 3-chloromethcathinone (3-CMC)

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) released their risk assessment report on 3-chloromethcathinone (3-CMC) this week. This report presents the data and findings carried out by the extended Scientific Committee of the EMCDDA on November 19, 2021. Read the full report here.

CCENDU Drug Alert: Nitazines

The Canadian Community Epidemiology Network on Drug Use (CCENDU) published a drug alert this week on nitazenes. The alert included reports from 6 of their CCENDU sites including the British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario-Toronto, Ontario-Thunder Bay, Quebec-Province, Newfoundland and Labrador. Read the full alert here.  For more information on CCENDU and to sign up for their alerts and bulletins click here.

RECENTLY PUBLISHED

In their own words: Experience of people who use drugs during the COVID-19 pandemic

Data collected by a research team at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health as part of the COVID Harm Reduction and Treatment Programs Survey describe the experiences of people who use drugs and people in substance use disorder treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the full report here.

Machine learning to assist in large-scale, activity based synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonist screening of serum samples

A manuscript published in Clinical Chemistry assessed the performance of an activity-based method in detecting newly circulating synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists. Read the full manuscript here.

Postdoctoral Fellowships Available Immediately!

The University of Florida Substance Abuse Training Center in Public Health T32 is seeking applicants for two postdoctoral fellowship openings! 

- Fellowships are sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and postdocs receive an annual stipend and health benefits for 2 years. 

- An annual allowance is offered to facilitate attendance at conferences.

- Fellows would work on NDEWS, the ABCD study or other NIDA funded studies with internationally known mentors.

- UF resources include: CTSA; McKnight Brain Institute; Center on Addiction Research and Education; Arts in Medicine; Pain Research and Intervention Center of Excellence; UF Health Cancer Center; Emerging Pathogens Institute; Institute on Aging

- The T32 program is directed by Dr. Linda Cottler, and co-directed by Dr. Sara Jo Nixon.

Questions should be directed to Ms. Tamara Millay at tmillay@ufl.edu. Applications are considered on a rolling basis; the program values the diversity of its applicants.

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