Researchers describe horrific effects of new drug threat, xylazine, or “tranq”

Xylazine, an animal sedative that is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for veterinary use only, has made its way into the illicitly manufactured fentanyl (IMF) supply and has significantly increased in prevalence in recent years, likely due to its low cost, easy availability, and presumed enhanced “high.” Researchers reviewed pertinent xylazine research and pulled from their own clinical experience to offer new guidance on the care of patients exposed to this dangerous drug. Their review is published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Overdose deaths from fentanyl laced stimulants have risen 50-fold since 2010

New UCLA-led research has found that the proportion of US overdose deaths involving both fentanyl and stimulants has increased more than 50-fold since 2010, from 0.6% (235 deaths) in 2010 to 32.3% (34,429 deaths) in 2021. This rise in constitutes the ‘fourth wave’ in the US’s long-running opioid overdose crisis

U.S. Drug Overdose Deaths More Than Quadrupled from 1999 to 2020

Regardless of race, age, geography or urbanization, drug overdose deaths in the U.S. more than quadrupled from 1999 to 2020, causing 1,013,852 deaths. The rates increased 4.4 times from 6.9 per 100,000 in 1999 to 30 per 100,000 in 2020.

How AI Can Help Design Drugs to Treat Opioid Addiction

ROCKVILLE, MD – Approximately three million Americans suffer from opioid use disorder, and every year more than 80,000 Americans die from overdoses. Opioid drugs, such as heroin, fentanyl, oxycodone and morphine, activate opioid receptors. Activating mu-opioid receptors leads to pain relief and euphoria, but also physical dependence and decreased breathing, the latter leading to death in the case of drug overdose.

Researchers Endorse Widespread Naloxone Over the Counter to Prevent Drug Overdose Deaths

Naloxone is an opioid receptor antagonist that rapidly reverses or blocks the effects of opioids, restores normal respiration and heart rhythm, and reverses the potentially fatal effects of an overdose. Although naloxone is included in U.S. CDC recommendations, the drug is currently prescribed to less than 1 in 70 patients prescribed high-dose opioid prescriptions. Researchers propose a call to action for all health providers and state medical societies to ensure the widest distribution and easy availability of naloxone, including over the counter, which is likely to be FDA-approved very soon.

WVU pharmaceutical experts caution ‘one pill can kill’ as new forms of fentanyl become more prevalent

Faculty members with the West Virginia University School of Pharmacy are issuing warnings about the rise of fentanyl in Mountain State communities and elsewhere following the recent seizure of a large amount of “rainbow fentanyl,” potent illegal pills resembling candy, by law enforcement officers in Monongalia County.

UCLA researchers use artificial intelligence tools to speed critical information on drug overdose deaths

Fast data processing of overdose deaths, which have increased in recent years, is crucial to developing a rapid public health response. But the system now in place lacks precision and takes months. To correct that, UCLA researchers have developed an automated process that reduces data collection to a few weeks.

More than medicine: pain-relief drug delivers choices for mothers in labour

Choice and control are important factors for ensuring a positive childbirth experience, yet until recently, little was known about the impact of alternative administrations of fentanyl – one of the pain relief drugs used during labour– on both mother and baby.

Fentanyl Tops List of Drugs Found in Baltimore Overdose Patients

Fentanyl is not typically part of hospital tests for illicit drug use, however, a new University of Maryland study found after expanding testing that fentanyl, linked to most fatal overdoses in Maryland, tops the list of drugs detected in overdose patients at two Baltimore hospital ERs. The researchers suggest addition of fentanyl to routine drug tests.

When Mothers Receive Fentanyl Epidurals During Labor, the Fentanyl Gets Passed on to Their Babies

Breaking research in AACC’s The Journal of Applied Laboratory Medicine shows that the fentanyl in epidurals can pass on to babies during labor. While the infants in this study did not experience adverse effects from this fentanyl transfer, this information is crucial to ensuring that new mothers don’t get falsely accused of fentanyl abuse, which can have dire social repercussions for mother and child.