New Tools to Tackle the Opioid Crisis

New Tools to Tackle the Opioid Crisis: Chemists Develop Method to Quickly Screen, Accurately Identify Fentanyl and a Broad Range of Other Drugs of Abuse

Researchers at McMaster University have developed a new drug screening technique that could lead to the rapid and accurate identification of fentanyl, as well as a vast number of other drugs of abuse, which up until now have been difficult to detect by traditional urine tests.

The method, outlined in the current edition of the journal Analytical Chemistry, addresses a serious public health emergency related to opioid addiction and unintentional overdose deaths: the lack of a reliable and inexpensive test that allows for comprehensive surveillance of synthetic drugs flooding the illegal market.  

The new method would eliminate a two-stage process currently in use for drug monitoring by allowing technicians to run many tests at once in a high throughput manner — dramatically cutting processing time while improving screening accuracy with quality assurance. \

Importantly, this mass spectrometric method can also screen for a wider range of drugs of abuse, as well as identify designer drugs that elude conventional tests.

Conventional tests using immunoassays fall short because they cannot detect the alarming assortment of drugs, which include synthetic opioids, tranquilizers, stimulants and anti-anxiety agents.

Additional confirmation tests are also required due to a high rate of false positives and false negatives, which slows the process further.

Current technologies are not specific, accurate nor comprehensive enough, which impairs a physician’s ability to properly care for patients, such as monitoring for drug compliance, potential substitution or polydrug usage,” he says

Researchers plan to validate the method relative to conventional screening tests for a broad spectrum of drugs of abuse on a cohort of in-patients, currently under physician care

A copy of the study can be downloaded here: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.analchem.7b03590

4 thoughts on “New Tools to Tackle the Opioid Crisis

  1. michael hause

    Do these people think junkies are going to test the drugs before they shoot up. If so, the need to walk out side and open thoer eyes.
    Now chronic pain patients are not stupid enough touse street drugs amd if the are its only because they were driven there by the dea cdc amd thier doctors
    The pain was just that unbearable so they reallydont care if they live or die
    Thats where thier heads are at
    Its time the political andedical arena woke up and realized there are 2 twotypes of patients one is deseased with addiction and the other is afflicted with chronic severe real pain thatonly goes away with proper opioid medication in proper doses. Not a 1 size fits all dose either.
    ENOUGH WASTIMG TAX DOLLARS ON JUNKIES AND ENOUGH PUNISHING AND TORTURING OUR DISABLED AMERICANS!

    Liked by 1 person

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  2. Zyp Czyk Post author

    Being able to identify opioids correctly will make it easier to see what’s causing the overdoses.

    Right now, prescription opioids and illegal opioids are being lumped together, making it look as though the overdoses were from prescriptions. With better ID of the drugs, the “opioid overdose” crisis will be proven to be from illicit drugs, not prescriptions.

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    1. michael hause

      Agreed, but is it too late for chronic pain patients? So many have taken thier lives, others turned to the streets and the rest lay in bed waiting to die. Nobody in meaningful places support us. It is as though they would rathercleanse society of us and help the drug abuser, the addict. Most people dont even realizie alcohol is a drug and more peopledie daily fromthat then any pills or illegal drugs. Leave a bottle of whiskey out in the sun. When all the liquid evaporates, the powdery residue will killan elephant.
      Yet to date there is no evicence alcohol or tobacco has any medical benifits.
      I have read thousands upon thousands of comments from people suffering because thier medicine has been drastically reduced or taken away. I also read and see howany kids young adults use illegal drugs and how east they are to get. There lies the problem. Heroin everywhere for anybody. Prescriptions for the MATURE RESPONSIBLE ADULT ARE UNATTAINABLE. THE CHOICE IS CLEAR. I WOULD NEVER EVER USE HEROIN OR BUY MY PAIN PILLS ILLEGALLY. I STILL USE AS DIRECTED, SO THEY LAST A MONTH.
      I DONT USE WEED OR ALCOHOL. THEREFORE I AM NOT AN ADDICT.
      NOR ARE ABOUT 40 MILLION JUST LIKE ME. SO END OF LIFE SOUNDS LIKE A MUCH BETTER RESULT THEN.BEING FORCED TO LIVE IN THIS PAIN FOR ANOTHER 20 OR SO YEARS. THE POWERS THAT BE MUST KNOW THIS THEY MUST BE AWARE OF THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A PERSON WITH TGE DESEASE OF ADDICTION AND A CHRONIC PAIN PATIENT THAT NEEDS HI DOSES OR LOW DOSES DEPENDING ON DAMAGE AND RATE OF METABOLISM. THIS IS COMMON SENCE AND TO MANY PEOPLEIN POWER ARE LACKING IT.
      NOW THERE IS A UPRISING OF FRAUDULANT REHAB AND SOBER LIVING HOUSES THAT ACTUALLY SUPPLY DRUGS TO PATIENTS TO KEEPTHE INSURANCE COMPANIES PAYING. FRAUD IS RUNNING RAMPANT. TGIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU LET GOVT RUN THINGS AND ASSUME THAT ALL PAIN DOCTORS AND PATIENTS ARE BAD. AT LEAST 1% OF ANY INDUSTRY HAS A CRIMINAL ELEMENT. YOU CANT SHUT THEM ALL DOWN BECAUSE OF THAT

      Liked by 1 person

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      1. Zyp Czyk Post author

        I totally agree – the contradictions and inconsistencies of our drug policies are horrendous and causing great societal harm, which actually makes the situation even worse, not better. I cannot think of one part of our drug policy that is doing anything at all to improve any aspect of our current addiction crisis.

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