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In many jurisdictions, public safety and public health entities are working together to enhance the timeliness and accuracy of the analytical characterization and toxicology testing of novel synthetic opioids. The improved sharing and early detection of these analytical data are intended to inform surveillance, interdiction efforts, patient intervention and treatment, all of which are critical to curbing the opioid epidemic. Forensic practitioners working to identify novel synthetic opioids struggle to provide timely results when encountering new or unknown substances, such as the fentanyl analogs. These compounds, which mimic heroin in pharmacologic effect but can be far more potent, are inconsistently present in chemical identification libraries, and are currently largely unavailable as reference materials for analytical comparison. Additionally, federal, state and local governments as well as nongovernmental organizations require potency, toxicity and potential-for-abuse data to evaluate the potential health risks of emerging drug threats. Subsequent scheduling efforts and criminal prosecutions also require these thorough drug characterization studies. Pilot programs have demonstrated that early communication of real-time drug toxicity and analytical data significantly impacts the successful response to emerging opioids. High-quality, real-time, national-level data on chemical composition, toxicological test data, drug toxicity and overdoses, and analysis of seized materials by law enforcement are needed to track drug trends. However, the USA still lacks a national system to coordinate and communicate toxicology, medical and medical examiner and coroner data with the broader medical and law enforcement communities. Opportunities to address these gaps as well as recent advancements collected through interagency efforts and technical workshops in the toxicology and analytical chemistry communities are presented here. Opportunities for partnership, increased communication and expanding best practices to move toward an integrated, holistic analytical response are also explored.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Journal of analytical toxicology
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Health as viewed from the perspective that humans and other organisms function as complete, integrated units rather than as aggregates of separate parts.
A synthetic opioid that is used as the hydrochloride. It is an opioid analgesic that is primarily a mu-opioid agonist. It has actions and uses similar to those of MORPHINE. It also has a depressant action on the cough center and may be given to control intractable cough associated with terminal lung cancer. Methadone is also used as part of the treatment of dependence on opioid drugs, although prolonged use of methadone itself may result in dependence. (From Martindale, The Extra Pharmacopoeia, 30th ed, p1082-3)
A class of opioid receptors recognized by its pharmacological profile. Kappa opioid receptors bind dynorphins with a higher affinity than endorphins which are themselves preferred to enkephalins.
A class of opioid receptors recognized by its pharmacological profile. Mu opioid receptors bind, in decreasing order of affinity, endorphins, dynorphins, met-enkephalin, and leu-enkephalin. They have also been shown to be molecular receptors for morphine.
A species of gram-negative, aerobic bacteria that is the etiologic agent of epidemic typhus fever acquired through contact with lice (TYPHUS, EPIDEMIC LOUSE-BORNE) as well as Brill's disease.
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