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Concept: Controlled Substances Act


The classical serotonergic psychedelics LSD, psilocybin, mescaline are not known to cause brain damage and are regarded as non-addictive. Clinical studies do not suggest that psychedelics cause long-term mental health problems. Psychedelics have been used in the Americas for thousands of years. Over 30 million people currently living in the US have used LSD, psilocybin, or mescaline.

Concepts: Health care, Psychology, Timothy Leary, Controlled Substances Act, Mental disorder, Serotonin, Clinical trial, Psychoactive drug


Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) is a plant consumed throughout the world for its stimulant effects and as an opioid substitute (1). It is typically brewed into a tea, chewed, smoked, or ingested in capsules (2). It is also known as Thang, Kakuam, Thom, Ketum, and Biak (3). The Drug Enforcement Administration includes kratom on its Drugs of Concern list (substances that are not currently regulated by the Controlled Substances Act, but that pose risks to persons who abuse them), and the National Institute of Drug Abuse has identified kratom as an emerging drug of abuse (3,4). Published case reports have associated kratom exposure with psychosis, seizures, and deaths (5,6). Because deaths have been attributed to kratom in the United States (7), some jurisdictions have passed or are considering legislation to make kratom use a felony (8). CDC characterized kratom exposures that were reported to poison centers and uploaded to the National Poison Data System (NPDS) during January 2010-December 2015. The NPDS is a national database of information logged by the country’s regional poison centers serving all 50 United States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico and is maintained by the American Association of Poison Control Centers. NPDS case records are the result of call reports made by the public and health care providers.

Concepts: Controlled Substances Act, Washington, D.C., Benzodiazepine, Drug addiction, U.S. state, Puerto Rico, Poison control center, United States


Transvaginal mesh devices are approved in the USA by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), through the 510(k) system. However, there is uncertainty about the benefit to harm balance of mesh approved for pelvic organ prolapse. We, therefore, assessed the evidence at the time of approval for transvaginal mesh products and the impact of safety studies the FDA mandated in 2012 because of emerging harms.

Concepts: Rectal prolapse, Controlled Substances Act, United States, Prolapse, Pharmaceutical drug, Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, Pure Food and Drug Act, Food and Drug Administration


A retrospective analysis of oral fluid drug testing results using LC-MS/MS was performed to determine the prevalence rates in oral fluid for codeine (COD) and 3 COD metabolites-morphine (MOR), norhydrocodone (NHC), and hydrocodone (HCOD). Oral fluid samples were collected using Quantisal oral fluid collection device (Immunalysis Inc.) and submitted to Millennium Health, LLC for the routine drug analysis by LC-MS/MS. Consistent with previously published literature, COD was the primary analyte detected in oral fluid after the use of COD. In COD-positive samples, HCOD, MOR, and NHC were detected at rates of 68.4%, 18.4%, and 6.3%, respectively. Concentration ranges of these analytes were 1.0 to >2000 ng/mL for COD, 1.0-20.2 ng/mL for MOR, 1.0-740.0 ng/mL for HCOD, and 2.1-47.5 ng/mL for NHC. In contrast to urine, where HCOD is typically detected as a minor metabolite of COD, HCOD was the most commonly detected metabolite in oral fluid in samples testing positive for COD with reported prescriptions for COD. This observation suggests that care should be taken when interpreting HCOD positives in oral fluid results, and that the use of COD should be considered as one possible explanation for HCOD positives.

Concepts: Hydrocodone, Dihydrocodeine, Oxycodone, Hydromorphone, Controlled Substances Act, Morphine, Codeine, Opioid


Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) is a plant indigenous to Southeast Asia. Its leaves and the teas brewed from them have long been used by people in that region to stave off fatigue and to manage pain and opioid withdrawal. In a comprehensive review published in 2012, Prozialeck et al presented evidence that kratom had been increasingly used for the self-management of opioid withdrawal and pain in the United States. At the time, kratom was classified as a legal herbal product by the US Drug Enforcement Administration. Recent studies have confirmed that kratom and its chemical constituents do have useful pharmacologic actions. However, there have also been increasing numbers of reports of adverse effects resulting from use of kratom products. In August 2016, the US Drug Enforcement Administration announced plans to classify kratom and its mitragynine constituents as Schedule 1 controlled substances, a move that triggered a massive response from kratom advocates. The purpose of this report is to highlight the current scientific and legal controversies regarding kratom.

Concepts: Controlled Substances Act, United States, Morphine, Mitragynine, Kratom, Drug, Pharmacology, Opioid


In March and October 2015, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and CDC issued nationwide alerts identifying fentanyl, particularly illicitly manufactured fentanyl (IMF), as a threat to public health and safety (1,2). IMF is pharmacologically similar to pharmaceutical fentanyl (PF), but is unlawfully produced in clandestine laboratories, obtained via illicit drug markets, and includes fentanyl analogs. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid 50-100 times more potent than morphine and approved for the management of surgical/postoperative pain, severe chronic pain, and breakthrough cancer pain.* DEA’s National Forensic Laboratory Information System (NFLIS) collects drug identification results from drug cases analyzed by federal, state, and local forensic laboratories throughout the United States.(†) In 2014, 80% of fentanyl submissions (i.e., drug products obtained by law enforcement that tested positive for fentanyl) in NFLIS were identified from 10 states, including Florida and Ohio (2), and seven of these 10 states reported sharp increases in fentanyl-related overdose deaths (fentanyl deaths) (3). This report presents findings of increased fentanyl deaths during 2013-2015 from investigations conducted by the University of Florida and the Ohio Department of Public Health, in collaboration with CDC. Analyses examined the association between trends in fentanyl-related law enforcement submissions and fentanyl deaths and describes groups at risk for fentanyl death using medical examiner and coroner reports. The marked increases in fentanyl death in Florida and Ohio during 2013-2015 were closely associated with parallel increases in fentanyl submissions, with the largest impact on persons who use heroin, consistent with reports that IMF is commonly mixed with or sold as heroin (1,4). In Ohio, circumstances associated with fentanyl deaths included a current diagnosed mental health disorder(§) and recent release from an institution such as a jail, rehabilitation facility, or hospital.

Concepts: Controlled Substances Act, Drug Enforcement Administration, Illegal drug trade, MDMA, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Heroin, Opioid, Morphine


In August 2012, the Food and Drug Administration investigated the safety of codeine use by children after tonsillectomy and/or adenoidectomy, culminating in a black box warning in February 2013. The objective of this study was to evaluate the association between the investigation and opioid prescribing to children undergoing these surgeries.

Concepts: Tonsillectomy, The Association, Controlled Substances Act, Pharmaceutical industry, Drug addiction, Food and Drug Administration, Opioid, Codeine


The aim of this paper is to assess the utility of coloured hair for the detection of drugs and alcohol in a large statistically significant population. The positivity rate, the 1st, 5th, 50th, 95th, and 99th percentiles of five amphetamines, cannabinoids, cocaine, four opiates, methadone, buprenorphine, seven benzodiazepines, and ethyl glucuronide (EtG) in 9488 non-treated and 1026 cosmetically treated (dyed or bleached) authentic hair samples was compared. Analytical methods used were accredited for forensic purposes at the cut-offs defined by the German driving licence re-granting medical and psychological assessment (MPA) guidelines. Considering only the drug classes for which at least 10 positive samples were detected, the positivity rate in non-treated hair was highest for alcohol (4.50%; measured using EtG at concentrations ≥ 7 pg/mg hair), followed by THC (2.00%), cocaine (1.75%), and amphetamine (0.59%). While the 1st to 99th percentile range was significantly lower for drugs in treated, compared to non-treated hair, no significant change was observed for EtG. Additionally, no significant difference in the positivity rate was observed between treated hair and non-treated hair for both drugs and EtG. This study is the first attempt to evaluate the influence of cosmetic treatment, mainly dying, on the positivity rate for both drugs and EtG in hair samples submitted routinely for abstinence testing and the first to indicate that dyed and eventually bleached hair is not necessarily useless in detecting drugs and/or alcohol consumption, thus making coloured hair analysis still useful, often being the only possibility to prove such misuse.

Concepts: Percentile, Drug addiction, Ethanol, Controlled Substances Act, Methamphetamine, Dopamine, Opioid, Statistical significance


Cognitive enhancers (CE) such as methylphenidate, amphetamines and modafinil are becoming more commonly used in non-medical situations. This study explored the prevalence and motivations for CE use in a New Zealand university.

Concepts: Enhancer, Controlled Substances Act, Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, Narcolepsy, Cognitive enhancer, Modafinil, Nootropic, Nootropics


Urine drug screens are commonly performed to identify drug use or monitor adherence to drug therapy. The purpose of this retrospective study was to evaluate the true positive and false positive rates of one of our in-house urine drug screen panels. The urine drugs of abuse panel studied consists of screening by immunoassay then positive immunoassay results were confirmed by mass spectrometry. Reagents from Syva and Microgenics were used for the immunoassay screen. The screen was performed on a Beckman AU5810 random access automated clinical analyzer. The percent of true positives for each immunoassay was determined. Agreement with previously validated GC-MS or LC-MS-MS confirmatory methods was also evaluated. There were 8,825 de-identified screening results for each of the drugs in the panel, except for alcohol (N = 2,296). The percent of samples that screened positive were: 10.0% for amphetamine/methamphetamine/3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA), 12.8% for benzodiazepines, 43.7% for opiates (including oxycodone) and 20.3% for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The false positive rate for amphetamine/methamphetamine was ∼14%, ∼34% for opiates (excluding oxycodone), 25% for propoxyphene and 100% for phencyclidine and MDMA immunoassays. Based on the results from this retrospective study, the true positive rate for THC drug use among adults were similar to the rate of illicit drug use in young adults from the 2013 National Survey; however, our positivity rate for cocaine was higher than the National Survey.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Convention on Psychotropic Substances, Illegal drug trade, Controlled Substances Act, Opioid, Type I and type II errors, Drug test, Drug addiction