What’s Trending: NPS Discovery Webinar Series – July 2024



This webinar originally occurred on Thursday, July 11th, 2024 from 11:00am - 12:30pm ET. All presentations and materials have been archived for you to access as On-Demand content.


The Center for Forensic Science Research and Education (CFSRE) launched NPS Discovery in 2018 as an avenue for rapid and timely dissemination of vital information regarding the detection of novel psychoactive substances (NPS) in the United States (US), filling the void for a program that did not exist nationally. The genesis of the program involved the development of New Drug Monographs which included chemical information, a brief description, and analytical data. These documents continue to serve as notification that new NPS are present in the US recreational drug supply, allowing scientists and practitioners to respond accordingly in their respective jurisdictions. Since 2018, NPS Discovery has grown exponentially to become a premier open-access drug early warning system by utilizing an evidence-based approach to lead the development of additional high impact reports for real-time action.


Also in 2018, NPS Discovery began an initiative to track emerging drug trends through the re-analysis of authentic forensic casework samples, including both biological samples and raw drug materials. This effort has continued through 2022 and has allowed for the production of Quarterly Trend Reports for each NPS subclass. These data have also allowed for the creation of Public Alerts to rapidly notify stakeholders of drug threats based on increasing positivity and prevalence with potential for increased morbidity and/or mortality. In 2020, NPS Discovery unveiled two new initiatives with public health and clinical partners, showcasing newly developed Drug Checking data and expanded toxicology testing on patients in emergency department settings (Clinical Reports), respectively. Most recently in 2021, NPS Discovery introduced a nation-wide, multi-jurisdictional effort to develop NPS Scope Recommendations as a testing resource for laboratories trying to keep up with ever-changing drug trends by implementing new method additions, developments, and/or validations. Additionally, our program has undertaken various research studies relating to NPS, including monitoring of drug use fora and gray market vendor sites and assessments of pharmacology and toxicity, among many other rapid growing and expanding initiatives.


Since 2018, the CFSRE’s NPS Discovery program has produced more than 140 new drug monographs to alert stakeholder about the emergence of various new opioids, cannabinoids, stimulants, hallucinogens, benzodiazepines, opioid precursors, and miscellaneous drugs. Trend analyses in forensic samples have shown the emergence and proliferation of new generations of opioids (e.g., nitazene analogues) linked to scheduling of fentanyl-related substances. Beginning in 2020, an exponential increase in benzodiazepine positivity was observed, with high rates of incidence with fentanyl and other opioids. Turnover of cannabinoids has continued, leading up to the recent detection of new generation cannabinoids post Chinese class-wide scheduling. Changes among stimulant and hallucinogen subclasses have been observed to be slower and less volatile; however, a recent major shift from eutylone to dimethylpentylone has changed the stimulant market.


Pairing of data from public health and public safety realms has allowed NPS Discovery to triangulate knowledge and information in manners not previously available in US. While our program was initially designed with forensic toxicology workflows in mind, it remains suited well for analysis of samples collected among other field of forensic science and other fields outside of the forensic space. Additionally, the NPS Discovery model and its associated reports are now consumed internationally for comparison of global drug markets and over NPS impacts. This webinar aims to provide an update with respect to each NPS subclass, as well as timely presentations on the most important new drugs and their impacts.


Detailed Learning Objectives:

  • Attendees will hear the latest drug trends from the CFSRE’s NPS Discovery program, learning about the newest resources and reports available for open-access use.
  • Attendees will observe the most timely and recent changes among NPS subclasses with an emphasis on detections and changing landscapes.
  • Attendees will learn about collaborations between forensic labs and public health departments to stay ahead of changing drug markets.


*Once you have completed all requirements for the webinar you will have access to your certificate for download. You can find your certificates in the Awards tab at the top of the page. The webinar's content has been reviewed by the ABFT and ABC, and determined to be acceptable for submission to the ABFT or ABC for continuing education credit!

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