National Drug Early Warning System (NDEWS) Weekly Briefing



The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) in partnership with the Canadian Community Epidemiology Network on Drug Use (CCENDU), and in collaboration with the National Drug Early Warning System (NDEWS), published an alert on stimulant use and its related harms in Canada and the US earlier this week. View the full report here.

Rapid Street Reporting: Substance use in the past 12 months, CharlestonSC

The Rapid Street Reporting (RSR) team visited Charleston, SC on November 4–5, 2022 as the second RSR Hotspot location. Charleston was chosen for a Hotspot visit based on rates of drug overdose-related EMS dispatch records in October 2022. The top three reported drugs aligned with previous NDEWS Sentinel Site visits: marijuana (49.7%), powder cocaine (15.1%), and psilocybin (14.1%). Read the report hereRead more about the RSR project here.

NDEWS Hotspot Alerts December 8–14, 2022: Opioid, heroin, methamphetamine, and non-opioid 911 dispatches

This week's NDEWS Hotspot Alert​s ​report ​includes 25 counties with higher-than-expected drug-related 911 dispatch counts over the previous 7-day period. View the full report hereClick here to read more about NDEWS Hotspot Alerts.


Increasing reports of tianeptine, or "gas station heroin"

A recently published VICE World News article reports on the drug, tianeptinean antidepressant that functions as an opioid and is being sold in gas stations. While used to treat depression in European, Latin American, and Asian countries, tianeptine is not approved by the FDA for medical use in the US. In February, the FDA issued a warning stating that tianeptine has been associated with serious harm, overdoses, and death, and people with opioid use disorder are particularly at risk when using tianeptine. Read the article here.

The NDEWS Web Monitoring team has also been tracking online discussions of tianeptine. In November 2022, three mentions of tianeptine were detected in drug-related Subreddits.


Monitoring the Future 2022 results: Most reported substance use among adolescents held steady in 2022

Earlier this week, the National Institute on Drug Abuse published a press release with the latest results from the Monitoring the Future Survey of substance use behaviors and related attitudes among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders in the US. In 2022, reported use of any illicit drug within the past year remained at or significantly below pre-pandemic levels for all grades. Read the release here.

Psychedelic drug legislative reform and legalization in the US

A recently published study in JAMA Psychiatry assessed trends in psychedelics legislative reform and legalization in the US. The number of psychedelic reform bills introduced each year has increased steadily from 5 in 2019 to 36 in 2022Of the bills introduced, 43 (58%) proposed decriminalization, suggesting that psychedelic drug reform is becoming a bipartisan issue. Read the study here.

SAMHSA proposes update to federal rules to expand access to opioid use disorder treatment and help close gap in care

Earlier this weekthe US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through its Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to expand access to treatment for opioid use disorder. The proposed changes would allow people access to treatment by allowing take-home doses of methadone and the use of telehealth in initiating buprenorphine at opioid treatment programs. Read the proposal here.

Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN): Findings from drug-related emergency department visits, 2021

This week, SAMHSA released a report describing findings from drug-related emergency department (ED) visits based on final 2021 Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) data. Alcohol was the most common drug in drug-related ED visits (41.7%) followed by opioids (14.8%), and 50 new substances were added to DAWN’s Drug Reference Vocabulary. Read the report here.

Drug overdose deaths among persons aged 1019 years – United States, July 2019December 2021

A new study in this week’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) examined overdose deaths among those aged 10 to19 years between July 2019 and December 2021. The authors found that monthly drug overdose deaths among adolescents increased by 109% during the study period. Ninety percent of those deaths involved opioids, 84% involved fentanyl, and 25% involved counterfeit pills. Read the report here.

Schedules of controlled substances: Placement of methiopropamine in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act

The Drug Enforcement Administration permanently placed N -methyl-1-(thiophen-2-yl)propan-2-amine (methiopropamine) in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act effective January 9, 2023. Read the full scheduling here.

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