This webinar originally occurred on November 12th, 2019
Duration: 1 hour
By participating in this webinar, participants were able to discuss the breadth, diversity, and array of substance and substance combinations as well as the latest trends in novel psychoactive substances contributing to our current substance abuse pandemic. Audience members can now recognize that while the timing of future abuse / overdose surges cannot be predicted with accuracy due to novel polydrug combinations, evolving ingestion routes, and ever-changing user demographics related to particular surges, lessons from past substance-related surges and outbreaks provide probative and informative lessons from which responses can be fashioned. Participants were able to implement strategies for drug landscape monitoring, testing approaches, and harm reduction based on contemporary drug intelligence. Attendees learned how to mitigate harms occurring in emerging drug outbreaks and gain insight to assist in factual communication and information dissemination at the federal, state, regional and local level regarding the emergent crises’ scope, nature, and impacts.
Presenter Dr. Barry Logan provided a comprehensive overview of current drugs of abuse relating to prevalence and ingestion combinations in post-mortem and human performance populations and discussed threats posed to users by those substances. Dr. Logan’s presentation highlighted the rapid pace and unpredictable patterns of substance origination, combination and ingestion usage trends, and challenges posed by veiled and latent threats such as those associated with the vaping adulteration crisis. Dr. Logan described novel psychoactive substance identifications made by the Center for Forensic Science Research and Education through the third quarter of 2019 and shared data on how those substances have contributed to morbidity and mortality.
Speaker M.J. Menendez joined the presentation by highlighting historic outbreaks and substance surge crises where harm was mitigated by rapid response to initial outbreak symptomology, immediate substance identification in post-mortem and seized drug samples, and immediate and ongoing communication between public health and public safety officials. The presenters also highlighted challenges in formulating effective remediation efforts, including: How can federal and state health officials actively working an emergent outbreak be identified so offers of assistance can be made? Will public health and public safety officials be willing to share information, seized drug, clinical, and post-mortem toxicology samples during an emergent episode to obtain immediate answers? Does any central repository hold the information that needs to be shared to fashion a meaningful and immediate response? Who are the federal agencies and partners that can benefit from data and information, and can also provide context, background, data and possibly resources? Sources such as CDC’s general website, CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Review, CFSRE NPS Discovery, NDEWS website, the WONDER database, DEA’s Diversion page, NFLIS Data, and Health Alerts were cited as positive examples of important shared informational platforms that may constitute building blocks for formulating an imminent comprehensive response model.
At the conclusion of the presentation, Dr. Logan and Ms. Menendez presented a portfolio of current tools and resources for surge / outbreak response best practices and shared a list of future resources that could make this process more efficient and immediate. Those resources included: a centralized data repository, a registry of key players in federal, state, regional and local public health and public safety agencies, academic and non-profit partners, immediate and accurate drug identification, and targeted data and information sharing. The presenters concluded the webinar with an invitation to make a firm commitment to participate in meaningful collaboration and change in the effort to prevent, mitigate, and eradicate substance surge and outbreak epidemics resulting in illness, harm, and death.
Detailed Learning Objectives:
1.) Discuss the breadth, diversity, and array of substance and substance combinations as well as the latest trends in novel psychoactive substances contributing to our current substance abuse pandemic.
2.) Understand an overview of current drugs of abuse relating to prevalence and ingestion combinations in post-mortem and human performance populations, and he will discuss threats posed to users by those substances.
3.) Realize the harms occurring in emerging drug outbreaks and will gain insights to assist in factual communication and information dissemination at the federal, state, regional and local level regarding the emergent crises’ scope, nature, and impacts.
M.J. Menendez | General Counsel and Senior VP of Public / Private Partnerships at NMS Labs
Dr. Barry Logan, Ph.D, F-ABFT | Chief Scientist and Toxicologist and Sr. VP of Forensic Science Initiatives at NMS Labs
Funding for this Forensic Technology Center of Excellence event has been provided by the National Institute of Justice.
Please contact us at ForensicCOE@rti.org for any questions.
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