Tags: synthetic | opioids | fda | drugs

Report: Synthetic Opioids a 'Nightmare' for Abuse, Enforcement

By    |   Monday, 27 November 2017 10:05 PM

Synthetic opioids are fast being illegally developed as FDA-approved drugs become harder to get — and the fake drugs are creating problems for addiction treatment, medical investigation and law enforcement, the Tennessean reported.

"It's a nightmare," said Tommy Farmer, director of the Tennessee Dangerous Drug Task Force. "They can shift an oxygen molecule here or a hydrogen group over there and that slightest shift affects the legality of it from a controlled substance to an unknown."

If a synthetic opioid variation created illegally is not included on the state's schedules of controlled substances, "prosecution does become problematic," said Ed Ryan, a prosecutor with the Nashville District Attorney's Office.

The drugs also pose challenges to medical examiners in trying to determine the cause of an overdose death, said Dr. Hunt Scheuerman, director of the William L. Jenkins Forensic Center in Johnson City.

He said the facility used to send about 20 percent of specimens collected during autopsies to outside labs for advanced drug screenings; now it is 80 percent.

"We're getting a lot of drug cases, and some of them are designer drugs that create a problem in and of themselves," Scheuerman said. "Some are so new that they can't identify them."

State officials are now working to criminalize new synthetic opioid variations that have yet to be found in Tennessee, Wesley Geminn, chief pharmacist for Tennessee's Opioid Treatment Authority at the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, told the Tennessean.

"Instead of trying to chase our tail before a fentanyl analog becomes a public health threat, we plan to future-proof the law," he said.

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The Tennessean reported synthetic opioids are fast being illegally developed as FDA-approved drugs become harder to get, and the fake drugs are creating problems for addiction treatment, medical investigation, and law enforcement.
synthetic, opioids, fda, drugs
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2017-05-27
Monday, 27 November 2017 10:05 PM
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