Tuesday, October 2, 2018

ETR - 2018, Quarter 2

A few days ago, the DEA released its Emerging Threats Report (ETR) for the second quarter of 2018. The agency touts this report as a "quarterly snapshot of the new psychoactive substance market in the United States". There are some interesting things of note which are included in this report.

Two new synthetic cannabinoids were detected for the first time - these were the alphabet soup 5F-EDMB-PINACA and 5F-MDMB-PICA. The top two most prevalent synthetic cannabinoids (which accounted for 50% of all detections) were FUB-AMB and 5F-ADB (also known as 5F-MDMB-PINACA) - both of these compounds have remained in the top two spots since 2016. Interestingly, they both were emergency scheduled by the Federal government in 2017, so I'm not quite sure what to make of their continued stay on the list.

Regarding designer opioids, the market has pretty much shifted back to fentanyl, which made up 75% of all designer opioid detections for the quarter. The compounds 4-ANPP and acetylfentanyl were detected a summed total of 74 times, while 13 other designer opioids (valerylfentanyl, parafluorobutyrylfentanyl, benzylfentanyl, 4'-methylacetylfentanyl, 3-methylfentanyl, U48800, furanylfentanyl, U47700, cyclopropylfentanyl, carfentanil, 4-fluoroisobutyrylfentanyl, butyrylfentanyl, and methoxyacetylfentanyl) accounted for 50 total detections or approximately 10% of all detections. Fentanyl analogs and other designer opioids are still out there in the wild, but they do not seem to be as prevalent as they were for the previous 1-2 years. Illicitly manufactured fentanyl continues to be the top dog in this category - ask any forensic toxicologist and she would tell you the same thing (and do please go talk to us forensic toxicologists, it can be very lonely working in a lab).

You get fentanyl! And you get fentanyl! We all get fentanyl!

There were only a total of 24 cathinones detected, of which 15 were N-ethylpentylone (62.5%). Older compounds such as MDPV, alpha-PVP, methylone, butylone, and ethylone are nowhere to be found.

The only designer benzodiazepine detected for the quarter was one identification of flubromazolam.

The Emerging Threats Report for Quarter 2 of 2018 can be found here.