National Drug Early Warning System (NDEWS) Weekly Briefing


UNODC releases new Current NPS Threats Report

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) published a new Current NPS Threats Report this week based on data obtained from drug seizures and drug detections in biological fluid casework. Between January 2019 and April 2020, ten individual NPS benzodiazepines were identified in toxicology cases. Etizolam, flualprazolam, and flubromazolam accounted for 64% of all identified NPS. Read the full report here

From NPS Discovery: 2020 Q3 Trend Reports for synthetic cannabinoids, NPS stimulants and hallucinogens, NPS opioids, and NPS benzodiazepines

NPS Discovery released its 2020 Q3 Trend Reports last Friday. An increasing number of emergency room admissions, death investigations, and intoxication events have been caused by synthetic cannabinoids, NPS stimulants, NPS hallucinogens, and NPS opioids in Q3 of 2020. The top NPS identified by class were 5F-MDMB-PICA (synthetic cannabinoids), eutylone (stimulants and hallucinogens), brorphine (opioids), and flualprazolam (benzodiazepines). Read the full trend reports here.


Vital Statistics Rapid Release: New provisional drug overdose death counts in the US

The CDC published a new Vital Statistics Rapid Release this week on provisional drug overdose death counts for the 50 states and the District of Columbia through March 2020. Interactive data visualizations are available for total drug overdose deaths and by drug or drug class, including heroin, natural and semi-synthetic opioids, synthetic opioids (excluding methadone), methadone, cocaine, and psychostimulants with abuse potential. Read the full release here, which includes queryable data visualizations, tables, and additional information.

Millennium Health study: Fentanyl analog positivity among near-real-time urine drug test results in patients seeking health care

A new study by Millennium Health showcases how real-time urine drug test results may help identify drug use trends. The fentanyl analog positivity rate was 40.55% for the patients that tested positive without a fentanyl prescription. Of those patients, 12.78% had more than one fentanyl analog present. Read the news release here, and the article published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence here.


US Customs and Border Protection performs second-largest border methamphetamine seizure in history

According to a recent press release, the US Customs and Border seized the second-largest amount of methamphetamine along the southwest border in the history of the agency. A tractor-trailer shipment labeled as medical supplies was stopped and inspected by CBP officers at the Otay Mesa commercial facility, resulting in more than $7.2 million in illegal drugs being extracted. Read the press release here.

Illegal drugs sold through new encrypted messaging app

Between the darknet and social media apps, technology is evolving and the drug trade is adapting to it. According to this article by Vice, there is now a new "robot dealer service" called Televend. Televend uses the encrypted messaging app Telegram to sell illegal drugs through online stores that are staffed 24 hours a day by robots. There are reportedly 200,000 registered users on the service. Read the full article here.

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