National Drug Early Warning System (NDEWS) Weekly Briefing


Opioid overdose-related 911 EMS responses per 10k population, June 20, 2022 – July 20, 2022

From June 20, 2022 to July 20, 2022, opioid-related 911 responses were reported in 1,188 incident counties in 43 states. Of those 911 responses, a majority of persons were white (52%), and male (68%). Within states with at least 70% coverage during the reporting period, Kentucky had the highest rate of responses with 2.18 responses per 10k residents. View the full report here.

Alert from the NDEWS Web Monitoring Team: Online mentions of Zopiclone

Context: This alert was prompted by an inquiry from the World Health Organization's Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD).

What was found? Consistent discussion of the drug Zopiclone has persisted in drug Subreddits, with at least 100 total mentions every month in 2022.

To what does Zopiclone refer? Zopiclone is a non-benzodiazepine sedative drug. In the US, Zopiclone is a controlled substance sold under the brand name Imovane.

How is it being discussed? Commenters describe recreational use of Zopiclone at recommended doses for its sedative effect in combination with other drugs, as well as taking high doses of the drug. While Zopiclone is not a benzodiazepine, commenters frequently discuss the drug in benzodiazepine Subreddits and mention taking the drug recreationally along with benzodiazepines, or when experiencing benzodiazepine withdrawal.

Drug Terms: Zopiclone, Imovane.


NPS Discovery: Announcement of newly identified novel psychoactive substance, N-propyl butylone in the US

Earlier this week, NPS Discovery announced the identification of the novel psychoactive substance N-propyl butylone. The new substance is classified as a novel stimulant and substituted cathinone. Read about its structure, its appearance, and its scheduling among other details here.


First two months of operation at first publicly recognized overdose prevention centers in US

A study published in JAMA Network Open and led by NDEWS New York City Sentinel Site Director Alex Harocopos described the first two months of operation and use at the first two publicly recognized US overdose prevention centers (OPC). Between November 30, 2021, and January 31, 2022, 613 individuals used OPC services 5,975 times across the two sites. During the first two months of OPC operation, trained staff responded 125 times to mitigate overdose risk. In response to opioid-involved symptoms of overdose, naloxone was administered 19 times and oxygen 35 times. No fatal overdoses occurred in OPCs or among individuals transported to hospitals. Read the full study here.

Nationwide investigation on the use of new psychoactive substances in Italy through urban wastewater analysis

A recent study used wastewater-based epidemiology to monitor the use of new psychoactive substances (NPS) in Italy, including fentanyl analogs. Composite wastewater samples were collected in 33 Italian cities from October to November 2020. Ten NPS, mainly synthetic cathinones and tryptamines, were identified throughout Italy. Low levels of fentanyl and its main metabolite, norfentanyl, were found in nine cities, whereas no fentanyl analogs were identified. Read the full study here.

Perspectives of people in Philadelphia who use fentanyl/heroin adulterated with the animal tranquilizer xylazine; Making a case for xylazine test strips

In a study recently published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence, investigators conducted interviews between January and May 2021, with people who used fentanyl/heroin and who had previously used fentanyl test strips in Philadelphia, PA. Participants were asked about xylazine and whether they would use hypothetical xylazine test strips. Participants suspected xylazine saturation of the fentanyl/heroin market, disliked the sensation of the drug, and had safety concerns about xylazine exposure. All were interested in hypothetical xylazine test strips. Read the full study here.

Vital Signs: Drug overdose deaths, by selected sociodemographic and social determinants of health characteristics — 25 states and the District of Columbia, 2019 – 2020

A study in this week's MMWR used data from the State Unintentional Drug Overdose Reporting System to analyze overdose death rates from 2019 to 2020 in 25 states and the District of Columbia. Rates were examined by race and ethnicity and county-level social determinants of health. Results showed from 2019 to 2020, overdose death rates increased by 44% and 39% among non-Hispanic Black and non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native persons, respectively. As county-level income inequality increased, overdose rates increased, particularly among Black persons. Read the full study here.

Share your research, news, and events through our submission form

Share your comments on our newsletter through our feedback form

Follow NDEWS on Twitter: @NDEWSnews