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WIREs Forensic Sci

A toxicological exploration of the opioid crisis

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Abstract With the discovery of opium dating back to Ancient Greek and Ancient Egyptian civilizations, there is a rich history stemming from the early use of the poppy plant to the new synthetic opioids that are emerging in drug seizures today. The phrase “opioid crisis” has been used to describe a public health emergency that has developed due to a combination of the over‐prescription of opioid medication, increase in heroin use, and clandestine synthesis of research chemicals previously discovered to have opioid receptor activity. Throughout the rise in opioid use, media outlets have helped inform the public, but they have also helped to rapidly spread misinformation. While receptor binding and metabolism studies have been thoroughly conducted for regulated medications, research chemicals and fentanyl analogs have not received as much attention regarding their pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic properties. Sample screening in forensic laboratories routinely uses commercially available enzyme‐linked immunosorbent assay kits and time‐of‐flight analysis. With the ever evolving landscape of emerging drugs, quantitative analytical methods have been developed for both gas chromatography mass spectrometry and liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry, however, the relevance of these methods truly depends on what drugs are being currently seen in casework, making it imperative to track regional trends. This article is categorized under: Toxicology > Analytical Toxicology Toxicology > New Psychoactive Substances Toxicology > Opioids

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Toxicology > Opioids
Toxicology > New Psychoactive Substances
Toxicology > Analytical Toxicology

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