Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Wait for the tox...

News broke the other day about a "face eater" and unprovoked attack that ended in two deaths in Florida. Of course the media jumped all over the possible drug angle. They've asked, could it be flakka? Some have said, yes, he was high on flakka.

Of course they did.

But let's wait for the toxicology analyses to come back. At this point, I seriously doubt any toxicology tests (outside of routine drug screens) have been completed. I'm sure tests will be run for cathinones such as MDPV and alpha-PVP (the supposed ingredient in flakka). Probably NBOMe hallucinogens as well. I'm sure an extensive and comprehensive toxicological analysis will be undertaken.

But, that takes time - this ain't CSI or NCIS.

Let's wait. Not speculate.

Remember the other famous (or infamous) "face eater" Rudy Eugene? Yeah, he wasn't on bath salts. And the media got that wrong from the initial reporting.

So again, let's just wait until the toxicology is reported.

But, if you do want to read more about alpha-PVP, gravel, or flakka, see these links:

5/26/15: Another day, another flakka story
4/14/15: On Flakka, Gravel, and Alpha-PVP
4/25/14: Gravel again
4/24/14: C'mon media, you have to do better...
1/29/2014: Gravel: human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together...mass hysteria?

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

It was only a matter of time...

News reports out of Arizona (12News) state that the DEA has raided a synthetic cannabinoid manufacturing laboratory.

Well, that's not news. It's happened quite a bit over the last several years.

Oh wait...

These folks were mixing synthetic cannabinoids with fentanyl.

This definitely is a way to cause serious harm.

It was only a matter of time.

According to the news report, they manufacturers were preparing the fentanyl and synthetic cannabinoid product in a cement mixer.


If I was in possession of a synthetic cannabinoid containing product in the state of Arizona, I'd throw it away. Now.

To all the people that come into contact with these substances (whether user, law enforcement, first responder, hospital staff, forensic chemists, etc.), be safe.

Officials prepare for the next big drug? It's U-47700.

Here is an article about the possible emergence of the opioid research chemical U-47700 in Iowa.

One quote to which you should pay attention...

"Weber says the new drug contains fentanyl which is a powerful medication."




Though they may be found together in illicitly produced products, U-47700 is not Fentanyl. Fentanyl is not U-47700.

They are two different compounds each with its own distinct chemical structure.

Let's make sure to accurately describe the situation.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

W-18 is now controlled in Canada.

Health Canada has controlled W-18.

Link is here.

Though, they still say it is an opioid drug and it is 100 times more potent than fentanyl, which we know is not accurate.

Health Canada needs to do better. People, internally and externally, look to the organization for accurate information.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

More on W-18's pharmacology

Another update on Twitter by Dr. Bryan Roth from Roth Lab at UNC - Chapel Hill...

So, no predicted opioid activities again. Only histamine H3 receptor activity. And data will be posted on Bioarchivx sometime this coming week!

Ain't social media great?

Friday, May 20, 2016

W-18 Associated Fatality Reported in Calgary

It was reported today in the Calgary Herald that a 35 year old man was found deceased at a Calgary hotel on March 7, 2016. The death was believed to be drug-related at the time. Law enforcement found drugs, paraphernalia, and a naloxone kit (albeit unusued) on the scene.

The Herald reports that the individual had "heroin, W-18, and 3-methylfentanyl" in his system when he died.

The article gives some "fast facts on W-18". They include:

"The drug is said by police  to be 100 times more potent than fentanyl."

My thoughts?

First, I'm glad I'm not a forensic pathologist. And cause and manner of death is obviously the pathologist's responsibility. It is her call to make.

Second, from a toxicology perspective, I'd be more focused on 3-methylfentanyl (known potent mu opioid receptor agonist) and heroin (prodrug for 6-acetylmorphine and morphine) than the W-18 (at this point). Especially considering what we know about W-18 - that the 10,000 times more potent than morphine and 100 times more potent than fentanyl trope comes from a mouse model writhing assay - and what we officially unofficially know about W-18 - not an opioid receptor agonist.

Interesting article. Still we should be very, very careful on how we talk about W-18. Hysteria and hyperbole is not the way to go. Talk about what we do know. Talk about what we do not know. But misrepresenting facts in not ok. The headline of the article only includes W-18. That is misrepresenting the situation at hand. This is a death that was associated with all three compounds.


Medical examiner confirms city's first fatal W-18 overdose

Saturday, May 14, 2016

W-18 Pharmacology Update

From the last post on W-18, we should remember that other than the mouse writing assay data, we know nothing about the pharmacology of the substance. NOTHING.

Chemical structure of W-18

Well, that's changed a bit. At least officially unofficially.

Dr. Brian Roth (@zenbrainest) of Roth Lab in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill tweeted a few days ago that they had preliminary information on W-18 via the NIMH Psychoactive Drug Screening Program.

Regarding W-18 and possible activity at mu opioid receptors...

And what about activity at kappa and delta opioid receptors?

And toxicity at what cells?

So, there you have it. Officially unofficially W-18 has no activity at the mu, kappa, or delta opioid receptors.