National Drug Early Warning System (NDEWS) Weekly Briefing


Fatal and non-fatal opioid overdose-related 911 EMS dispatches January 2022 – August 2022

Fatal and non-fatal opioid overdose-related 911 EMS dispatches across the US increased throughout 2022, from 17,082 in January to 20,428. Dispatches were most common in White males and persons aged 30 – 39. This age range has continued to be of concern for opioid overdose. View the full report here.

Substance use in the past 12 months: San Diego, CA Survey dates: August 19–21, 2022

The National Drug Early Warning System (NDEWS) Rapid Street Reporting (RSR) team visited San Diego, CA on August 19–21, 2022. The RSR team conducted surveys (N=391) in public spaces, including parks, grocery stores, stadium/arenas, libraries, and sidewalks. View the full report here.

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

What was found? A subreddit discussion trend for the drug xylazine peaked in Summer 2022.

To what does Xylazine refer? Xylazine is a sedative drug used in veterinary anesthesia.

How is it being discussed? Recent discussion of xylazine on Reddit is focused on the drug's use as a cutting agent in fentanyl. The increase in mentions in Summer 2022 can be partially attributed to discussion of media reporting, discussion of first-hand experiences with xylazine and its toxic effects, and efforts by commenters to determine whether fentanyl has been cut with the drug.

Drug Terms: Xylazine, fentanyl.


Notes from the Field: Nitazene-related deaths — Tennessee, 2019 – 2021

This week's MMWR included a report on nitazene-involved overdose deaths in Tennessee. From 2019 to 2021, a total of 52 nitazene-involved fatal drug overdoses were identified using Tennessee State Unintentional Drug Overdose Reporting System (SUDORS) data. In 2020, most of the nitazene-involved deaths were attributed to isotonitazene, while in 2021, most were attributed to metonitazene. Most nitazene-involved deaths in Tennessee were identified in Knox County. Read the full report here.

National Vital Statistics System: Provisional drug overdose death counts

Earlier this week, the CDC published their provisional counts for drug overdose deaths based on a current flow of mortality data in the National Vital Statistics System. Read the full report here.

Experiences of harm reduction service providers during dual public health emergencies in Canada

A recently published report by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction details five findings to improve the experiences of those providing harm reduction services. Read the full report here.

Xylazine and overdoses: Trends, concerns, and recommendations

An article published in the American Journal of Public Health details trends, concerns, and recommendations regarding xylazine and overdoses. Current trends of xylazine in the US drug supply using state-level data from Connecticut were highlighted, as well as recommendations that included testing, research, patient and clinical education, and harm reduction. Read the full article here.

Join Virtual HealthStreet

Virtual HealthStreet is an online community of people who will periodically be asked to respond to confidential surveys on their lived experiences with drugs and information on new and emerging drugs. People with lived experience can help us garner a better understanding of emerging drug trends across the US and disseminate early warnings in near real time. Anyone over the age of 18 who lives in the US and has lived experience with new and emerging drugs can participate. Please join our growing community and use the QR code above to sign up. To share this information with your network click here.

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