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Notes from the Field: Xylazine Detection and Involvement in Drug Overdose Deaths — United States, 2019. 

Kariisa M, Patel P, Smith H, Bitting J. 

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2021;70:1300–1302. DOI: doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm7037a4


Neurocognitive impairments and brain abnormalities resulting from opioid-related overdoses: A systematic review. 

Winstanley EL, Mahoney JJ 3rd, Castillo F, Comer SD. 

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2021 Sep 1;226:108838. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2021.108838. Epub 2021 Jun 24. PMID: 34271512.



Anti-Fentanyl Vaccines as Medical Solutions to Overdose Deaths

Thomas R. Kosten, MD

Manufactured fentanyl is a major cause of overdoses for opioids and nonopiods. Can a vaccine immunize against overdose? (Psychiatric Times, USA, 10.08.2021)


“Disparities in Opioid Overdose Death Trends by Race/Ethnicity, 2018–2019, From the HEALing Communities Study”, 

Marc R. Larochelle, et al. 

American Journal of Public Health , no.  (): pp. e1-e4., doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2021.306431


USA. Grieving Overdose Zine: Your Grief Matters and So Do You

Content Warning: This is a zine about death, overdose, grief, and drugs. 

The Harm Reduction community observes International Overdose Awareness Day on August 31 each year. This year, The DOPE Project worked with artist Gaia Wxyz to create a single-page zine as an act of care for a community that experiences too much preventable loss. (Harm Reduction Coalition, USA, 08.09.2021)


HIV and overdoses: diversifying therapies for opioid use disorder

Waters, Richard C et al.

The Lancet, Volume 398, Issue 10302, 741 - 742 


Non -fatal overdose among people who inject drugs in Tehran, Iran. 

Noroozi M, Higgs P, Bayani A, Armoon B, Astaneh AN, Moghaddam LF, Askari M. 

Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy. 2020 Oct 14;15(1):80. doi: 10.1186/s13011-020-00323-0. PMID: 33054806; PMCID: PMC7559998.


WHO. Drug overdose: a film about life

This is a film about hope and life, it is about people who are making a difference. It is a film to inspire the actions of those who are striving to reduce deaths from drug overdose, and to honour the memories of those who have died. More than 500 000 deaths annually are attributable to drug use, and about 115 000 people die every year from opioid overdose alone. (WHO, 19.20.202ideo, 05:09)


USA. Nora’s Blog: Drug overdose deaths in 2020 were horrifying. Radical change is needed to address the drug crisis.

The provisional drug overdose death statistics for 2020 confirmed the addiction field’s worst fears. More people died of overdoses in the United States last year than in any other one-year period in our history. More than 93,000 people died. The increase from the previous year was also more than we’ve ever seen—up 30 percent.

These data are telling us that something is wrong. In fact, they are shouting for change. (NIH – National Institute on Drug Abuse, 31.08.2021)


FAQs: EMCDDA answers key questions on drug-related deaths

How many people die every year in Europe from a drug-related death? Are women and men affected equally? What substances are involved in these fatalities? These are some of the questions answered in the EMCDDA’s ‘Frequently asked questions (FAQs): drug overdose deaths in Europe’, published to mark International Overdose Awareness Day. (EMCDDA, Lissabon, 31.08.2021)


31. August: International Overdose Awareness Day 

International Overdose Awareness Day is the world’s largest annual campaign to end overdose, remember without stigma those who have died and acknowledge the grief of the family and friends left behind. Time to Remember. Time to Act. (Penington Institute, Australien, 31.08.2021)


A drug-related Good Samaritan Law and calling emergency medical services for drug overdoses in a Canadian setting. 

Moallef, S., Choi, J., Milloy, MJ. et al.

Harm Reduct J 18, 91 (2021). doi.org/10.1186/s12954-021-00537-w


Increased barbiturate deaths: an unintended consequence of increased publicity for methods of do-it-yourself euthanasia?, 

Campbell, G., Darke, S., Hall, W., and Lappin, J. (2021) 

Addiction. doi.org/10.1111/add.15573. 


Summary statistics for drugs and alcohol concentration recovered in post-mortem femoral blood in Western Switzerland. 

Lefrancois E, Reymond N, Thomas A, Lardi C, Fracasso T, Augsburger M. 

Forensic Sci Int. 2021 Aug;325:110883. doi: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2021.110883. Epub 2021 Jun 24. PMID: 34229141.


Unintentional Opioid Overdoses Treated at University Clinic of Toxicology-Skopje in a Nine-Year-Period. 

Simonovska N, Velik-Stefanovska V, Babulovska A. 

Acta Medica (Hradec Kralove). 2021;64(2):91-95. doi: 10.14712/18059694.2021.16. PMID: 34331428.


Correlations between Changes in Medical Opioid Dispensing and Contributions of Fentanyl to Opioid-Related Overdose Fatalities: Exploratory Analyses from Canada. 

Jones W, Lee MA, Kaoser R, Fischer B. 

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Jul 14;18(14):7507. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18147507. PMID: 34299958; PMCID: PMC8307682.


UK. Drug-Related Deaths Worst Ever - Cocaine-related deaths continue to rise

Following on from the dire news from Scotland last week that 1,339 people died of drug misuse last year, yesterday’s figures for England and Wales were equally depressing. The official data: Deaths related to drug poisoning in England and Wales: 2020 egistrations reported that 4,561 deaths related to drug poisoning were registered (equivalent to a rate of 79.5 deaths per million people); this is 3.8% higher than the number of deaths registered in 2019 (4,393 deaths; 76.7 deaths per million). This is the worst number since records began in 1993. (russellwebster/, UK, August 2021)


USA. Is reducing opioids for pain patients linked to higher rates of overdose and mental health crisis?

A new study found a 68% increase in overdose events and a doubling of mental health crises among patients who were on stable opioid therapy but had their doses tapered. (University of California, 03.08.2021)


USA. Drug Overdoses Killed A Record Number Of Americans In 2020, Jumping By Nearly 30%

More than 93,000 people died of a drug overdose in the U.S. last year — a record number that reflects a rise of nearly 30% from 2019, according to new data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Officials said the increase was driven by the lethal prevalence of fentanyl as well as pandemic-related stressors and problems in accessing care. (npr – National Public Radio, USA, 14.07.2021)


Identifying counties at risk of high overdose mortality burden during the emerging fentanyl epidemic in the USA: a predictive statistical modelling study

Marks, Charles et al.

The Lancet Public Health, Volume 0, Issue 0 


Association of Opioid Agonist Treatment With All-Cause Mortality and Specific Causes of Death Among People With Opioid Dependence: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. 

Santo T, Clark B, Hickman M, et al. 

JAMA Psychiatry. Published online June 02, 2021. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2021.0976



USA. Drug overdose deaths soared to a record 93,000 last year

Deaths from drug overdoses soared to more than 93,000 last year, a staggering record that reflects the coronavirus pandemic’s toll on efforts to quell the crisis and the continued spread of the synthetic opioid fentanyl in the illegal narcotic supply, the government reported Wednesday. (Washington Post, 14.07.2021)


Factors associated with opioid overdose during medication-assisted treatment: How can we identify individuals at risk?. 

Au, V.Y.O., Rosic, T., Sanger, N. et al.

Harm Reduct J 18, 71 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12954-021-00521-4


Kanada – British Columbia. Let’s talk Overdose – Monthly Newsletter

Herausgeber: University of British Columbia, Addictions and Concurrent Disorders Research Group, Department of Psychiatry


The rise of illicit fentanyls, stimulants and the fourth wave of the opioid overdose crisis, 

Ciccarone, Daniel 

Current Opinion in Psychiatry: July 2021 - Volume 34 - Issue 4 - p 344-350 doi: 10.1097/YCO.0000000000000717 


Explaining the Differences in Opioid Overdose Deaths between Scotland and England/Wales: Implications for European Opioid Policies.

van Amsterdam J, van den Brink W, Pierce M. 

Eur Addict Res. 2021 May 7:1-14. doi: 10.1159/000516165. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33965949.


Brief Opioid Overdose Knowledge (BOOK): A Questionnaire to Assess Overdose Knowledge in Individuals Who Use Illicit or Prescribed Opioids, 

Dunn, Kelly E. PhD; Barrett, Frederick S. PhD; Yepez-Laubach, Claudia BA; Meyer, Andrew C. PhD; Hruska, Bryce J. PhD; Sigmon, Stacey C. PhD; Fingerhood, Michael MD; Bigelow, George E. PhD 

Journal of Addiction Medicine: September/October 2016 - Volume 10 - Issue 5 - p 314-323 doi: 10.1097/ADM.0000000000000235 


Methadone overdose in patients following methadone maintenance treatment: A three years overview in the district of Bari (South-Italy). 

Favia M, Santoiemma I, Mita Q, Strisciullo G, Introna F, De Donno A. 

Clin Ter. 2021 May 5;172(3):247-249. doi: 10.7417/CT.2021.2323. PMID: 33956046.


Steep increases in fentanyl-related mortality west of the Mississippi River: Recent evidence from county and state surveillance. 

Shover CL, Falasinnu TO, Dwyer CL, Santos NB, Cunningham NJ, Freedman RB, Vest NA, Humphreys K. 

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2020 Nov 1;216:108314. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2020.108314. Epub 2020 Sep 28. PMID: 33038637; PMCID: PMC7521591.


The Opioid Hydra: Understanding Overdose Mortality Epidemics and Syndemics Across the Rural-Urban Continuum. 

Peters DJ, Monnat SM, Hochstetler AL, Berg MT. 

Rural Sociol. 2020 Sep;85(3):589-622. doi: 10.1111/ruso.12307. Epub 2019 Oct 27. PMID: 33814639; PMCID: PMC8018687.