DUID in Scotland: Randox Toxicology
Scotland is set to introduce a new “zero tolerance” policy to those caught driving under the influence of drugs. Ministers in Scotland want to make it easier for police officers to target people driving with illegal drugs in their bloodstream. The policy will supersede the current need to prove that someone was driving in an impaired manner as a result of drug consumption. The law in Scotland currently states that it is illegal to drive if impaired by drugs, be it prescription or illegal drugs.
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said “The introduction of drug driving limits will strengthen the power of Scotland’s police and prosecutors to tackle the minority of drivers who irresponsibly put themselves and other road-users at risk. Drug driving is completely unacceptable, and we will continue to use all of the tools at our disposal to prevent the avoidable deaths and damage caused by those who drive under the influence of drugs. Together with our stringent drink-driving limits, these new laws will ensure that Scotland have the UK’s most robust laws against impaired and unsafe driving.”
Under the new plan, eight of the most commonly abuse illegal drugs – including heroin, ketamine and ecstasy – will have limits set very close to zero to rule out claims of accidental exposure. A further eight drugs, which can have medicinal purposes – such as diazepam and methadone – will have higher limits based on their ability to impair drivers. These proposals would mean just having drugs in your system that breach the limits, this is sufficient evidence to prosecute.
In the turn of the new year, we look at the current trends in drug abuse in 3 key continents and what their key 2018 figures say about drug use in their countries.
New psychoactive substances have been an emerging drug market in the Americas, with a total of 130 different new psychoactive substances being reported in seven South American countries in August 2017. This was more than a 50% increase within the year, as over 60 different substances had been reported in 2016 alone, according to the OAS and CICAD Report on Drug Use in The Americas 2019. Latin America have experienced a surge in LSD, synthetic cannabinoid, plant substance and ketamine use among the general population as well.
Meanwhile, opioids and prescription opioids have been a major cause for concern in the Americas, with opioid analgesics involved in more overdose fatalities than any type of illicit drug, exceeding cocaine and heroin-related fatalities in Canada and USA combined. Users are increasingly turning to street opioids as well, which are often mixed with heroin and other drugs. The major challenge noted in the same report is the complexity of the appearance of NPS and the counterfeit substances it contains.
Cannabis has had the highest use among males, with most cases being regular patterns of use. Around 1% of European adults are considered daily users according to the European Drug Report 2018. Regarding opioids, heroin is the most common drug of abuse in this category, and prevalence of high risk opioid use among adults is estimated to be at 0.4% of the EU population.
Synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl, are growing in use in Europe. In 2016, over 18 European countries reported more than 10% of all opioid clients entering specialised services suffering from opioid addiction other than heroin.
Opioids present the largest drug problem in Asia, having the highest proportion of causes of drug users going to treatment centres, followed by amphetamine-type stimulants and cannabis. Production of drug substances in Asia have been significant in the last 3 years, with cocaine and opium production hitting record highs. Methamphetamine is also an emerging threat to Asia, with production of the synthetic drug overtaking heroin.
Our testing solution
Randox Toxicology are first to market when it comes to testing for the latest drugs of abuse and new psychoactive substances in the market. Our revolutionary Biochip Array Technology provides state-of-the-art drug detection, utilizing simultaneous drug detection from a single sample across multiple matrices.
Our ELISA kits provide a comprehensive test menu, covering a broad range of drugs of abuse, stimulants, analgesics and sedatives. Randox Toxicology develop the highest quality 96-well microtitre plates available to the market, with results providing excellent correlation with confirmatory methods.
To find out more email us at: email@example.com or visit our website: www.randoxtoxicology.com
The 2018 UN World Drug Report calculated that around 275 million people worldwide used drugs at least once in 2016 and some 31 million of those suffer from a drug use disorder.
Cannabis was the most commonly used drug in 2016, with 192 million people using it at least once that year. The global number of cannabis users continues to rise and appears to have increased by roughly 16 per cent in the decade ending 2016, which is in line with the increase of the world population.
The quantities of cannabis seized worldwide fell by 27 per cent, to 4,386 tons in 2016. This decline was particularly noticed in North America, where the medical cannabis in many states and the legalisation of cannabis for recreational use may have played a role in the declining figures. There is evidence from Western countries that the perceived easy availability of cannabis, coupled with perceptions of a low risk of harm, makes the drug among the most common substances whose use is initiated in adolescence. Cannabis is often used in conjunction with other substances and the use of other drugs is typically tried after recreational cannabis use.
As the need for vital drug screening continues to increase, Randox Toxicology are leading the way in developing new and novel drugs of abuse tests. Capable of detecting up to 21 classical, prescription and synthetic drugs from a single sample including cannabinoids, our fully automated Evidence MultiSTAT analyser utilises our Biochip Array Technology to deliver reliable and accurate results in under 20 minutes.
For further information about the Evidence MultiSTAT and our cutting-edge multiplex testing capabilities, contact firstname.lastname@example.org to be put in touch with a sales member or visit www.randoxtoxicology.com.
Ractopamine was first developed as a treatment for asthma but was never approved according to Consumer Reports. Research later uncovered that when added to animal feed prior to slaughter, ractopamine could increase meat leanness or weight. However, ractopamine is currently banned or resisted in over 160 nations, including Russia and all European Union countries.
Ractopamine belongs to a class of drugs known as beta-agonists. These drugs mimic the effects of adrenaline, resulting in increased protein synthesis in muscle tissue during the administration period. When looking at the long-term effects of the therapeutic use of beta-agonists, side effects include a fast heart rate, widening of blood vessels, skeletal muscle tremor, nervousness, metabolic disturbances, high blood sugar and a lower than normal potassium in the blood. It is for this reason that in Europe all beta-agonists are banned for use in livestock and for improving athletic performance according to EU council directive 96/22/EC.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) provide a “Never Fed Beta Agonists” program for companies that produce livestock and beef and pork products. Companies are to meet the requirements of the program if they are to supply pork or beef to customers that require verification of marketing claims that meat is derived from animals that are free of beta agonist residues.
With over 35 years’ experience within the diagnostics industry, Randox Food Diagnostics provide the highest quality products, customer service and technical support to ensure the needs of our global customer base are met. Our dedicated research and development team have therefore created our USDA approved ELISA kit for the detection of ractopamine residues. Offering excellent limits of detection, our accurate and reliable ractopamine test is applicable on urine and tissue sample types.
To ensure compliance with regulations, Randox Food Diagnostics also provide the Growth Promoter Multiple Matrix Array. Utilising our patented Biochip Array Technology, the Growth Promoter Multiple Matrix Array detects for several growth promoters in meat, including ractopamine.
For more information on our ractopamine ELISA or Growth Promoter Multiple Matrix Array, email email@example.com
Cannabis continues to be the most reported drug abused in Sri Lanka, however cannabis related offences have decreased from 66.2% to 61.9% in April – May 2018. Heroin is the second highest drug abused at 28.8% of those arrested in April and 35.9% of arrestees in May engaging in heroin related offences. Hashish, babul, madana modaka, opium, methamphetamine and tablets are other prevalent drugs abused in Sri Lankan drug related offences that have been noted. Although cannabis related crime has decreased, drug prevalence and drug related offences are increasing in the country.
Sri Lanka has been taking measures to tackle the abuse of opium, cannabis and certain psychotropic substances since its independence in 1948. Opium is not cultivated in Sri Lanka, however over the past decade Sri Lanka has been used as a trans-shipment point for heroin from South West Asia and India to other destinations outside of the subcontinent. Heroin seized prior to reaching Sri Lanka is roughly two – three times the quantity of heroin seized in Sri Lanka itself.
Randox Toxicology are the leading manufacturer of the patented Biochip Array Technology (BAT). BAT is a precision multiplex testing platform allowing for the simultaneous quantitative or qualitative detection of a wide range of analytes from a single sample. After the addition of a sample to the biochip, analytes present in the sample bind to the specific biochip bound ligands. The degree of binding is determined using a chemiluminescent light source and quantified using a Charge Coupled Device (CCD) camera and imaging system.
Additionally, our range of immunoanalysers include the Evidence, the Evidence Evolution, the Evidence Investigator and the Evidence MultiSTAT which individually utilise our Biochip Array Technology for the screening of drugs of abuse. Our extensive toxicology test menu covers a broad range of classical, prescription, synthetic drugs and new psychoactive substances. With multiple matrices available, Randox Toxicology are a global leader in the Toxicology market.
Randox Toxicology offer the most comprehensive Drugs of Abuse (DoA) test menu across multiple forensic matrices. Our DoA II panel can detect opium and generic opioids. Our level of expertise in toxicology research and development allows us to adapt quickly to ever changing market influences and develop assays for current and novel drug trends.
The potential presence of drug residue contaminants in food products destined for human consumption is an increasingly popular topic of conversation in the industry but what are the main challenges facing the industry to tackle this potential issue?
Drug residue contaminants in food products is a discussion that involves the global community but each individual country or trade bloc has their own protocols and regulations relating to the control and monitoring of residues. The different legislations are designed to protect the general public as well as the food industry interests in their individual countries. Any business that wishes to sell their products within other countries or regions must meet their legislative requirements relating to drug residues. These differences in regulations have increased the need for increased dialogue on the issue as well as the implementation of effective monitoring systems.
The industry must deal with the potential of residues from antibiotics and growth promoting hormones entering the food chain. This will involve ensuring correct dosage per animal and also adhering to withdrawal periods set for their region. The second issue the industry faces is the stigma received from the misuse of these antibiotics and growth promoting hormones.
While there is a potential for misuse it should always be noted that a producer’s main concern should always be animal health, which leads to a quality end product. The use of antibiotics is to ensure the health of the animal and to reduce the potential knock on effect of untreated diseases which could create a downturn on yield. Growth promoting hormones are used to increase this yield also but should never be done so at the expense of a safe end product.
Residues from particular drugs in food produce can have serious implications for human health. As such many countries have set Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) or tolerances for these residues in food. The Maximum Residue Limit is the maximum concentration of a residue that can be present in a product from an animal or animal by product intended for the food supply. These MRLs mean that it is required by law in the enforcing countries that any product in the food chain cannot contain residue levels that are harmful to human health above these limits.
There has been controversy over measures to tackle drug residues in foods as there are no internationally accepted standards for many drugs. Ractopamine in particular has caused trade disputes as it is permitted in food production in some countries like the US & Canada, but the European Union, China, Taiwan and over 100 other countries have banned its use.
The real challenge the food industry faces is ensuring their testing methods are effective and reliable to ensure the safety of a variety of end products. To name a few of these diverse products we can look at the dairy, meat, seafood, feed and honey markets.
The dairy industry is under constant scrutiny and pressure to constantly produce high volumes of milk whilst maintaining a superior standard of quality in their dairy products. As part of the production process various contaminants are administered to cattle in an effort to systematically treat various infectious diseases and maintain a healthy herd. A direct consequence of this is the requirement of routine monitoring and testing within farms and dairy processors to ensure that the levels of contaminants in milk are within legal regulations not exceeding Maximum Residue Limits and that unauthorised substances are not found at any level in milk.
Testing can be conducted at several points during the production process. Firstly, farm level testing can be carried out to screen milk from cows that have been separated from the herd and undergone antibiotic treatment. Secondly, the dairy processor is required to conduct testing both onsite taking samples from tankers and retrospective testing as a method of internal surveillance to ensure the milk supplied from several farms is within global regulatory limits. Thirdly, retailers can test the processed milk end product to guarantee the milk is antibiotic free before it’s added to supermarket shelves for consumers.
Global meat production and consumption have increased rapidly in recent decades. Worldwide meat production has tripled over the last four decades and increased 20 percent in just the last 10 years. Meanwhile, industrial countries are consuming growing amounts of meat, nearly double the quantity in developing countries. Mass quantities of antibiotics are used on livestock to reduce the impact of disease, contributing to antibiotic resistance in animals and humans alike. Worldwide, 80 percent of all antibiotics sold in 2009 were used on livestock and poultry, compared to only 20 percent used for human illnesses.
Growth promoters, which are tested for under the NRCP, are hormonal and antibiotic substances that may be used in food producing animals for growth promotion in livestock animals thus increasing the production of muscle meat and the reduction of fat. The type of growth promoter used is dependent on the animal species and mode of rearing with steroid growth promoters used for beef cattle and antibiotic growth promoters, which are usually added to feedstuffs, such as the coccidiostats used in the poultry industry and chlortetracycline used in the porcine industry. The rapid speed of meat production calls for the need to test for drug residues frequently to prevent them from ending up in the food chain.
The global aquaculture industry has grown steadily over the past five decades, increasing at an average rate of 3.2%. However, this growth has come at a cost, with the industry facing many new challenges. Farmed seafood is often treated with medicated feeds which contain antibiotics such as leucomalachite green and nitrofurans for example to prevent from disease spreading, they are also exposed to other harmful residues used to treat algae etc. within the ‘pens’ where they are kept.
The FAO (2012) reported that 38% of fish produced globally is exported, highlighting the imbalances in regional supply and the changing tastes of the global consumer. This increased level of exporting and importing shows the importance of drug residue screening within the global aquaculture industry. This increased level of exporting and importing shows the importance of drug residue screening within the global aquaculture industry.
The global animal feed processing market is estimated at US$21.61 billion in 2018 and is projected to reach US$ 26.62 Billion by 2023. The market is driven by factors such as the rising awareness of feed nutrition and health, technological advancements in the equipment industry and increase in the demand for feed around the world. Medicated feeds containing veterinary are often used to help prevent disease within livestock and there are MRLs for feed which has created the need for testing as high levels of residues can have an effect on livestock health and also transfer through to meat products for human consumption. With humidity levels rising in recent years there has been an influx in the level of mycotoxins found within feed and cereals. These toxins are fungal and can affect both livestock and human health for example mycotoxicoses which is a disease which can affect the respiratory system. The main cause of mycotoxins within stored grains are when the grain is damp or cracked and kept in insufficient storage conditions. These factors have made it necessary for feed and cereals to be tested for both drug residues and mycotoxins to ensure that they do not end up within the food chain.
The global honey market is growing at a rapid pace and the global consumption of honey is to reach 2.5 million tones by 2022. This growth is driven for consumers demand for natural and healthy alternatives to artificial sweeteners over cane sugar. There is also a growing awareness of the health and healing benefits of honey which is driving the demand for the use of honey for medicinal use, manuka honey sales continue to grow for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. The rapid rise in demand for honey outweighs the amount that can be produced in a natural form globally due to a decline in the number of bees. This has influenced the quality of honey being produced as some producers take to diluting natural honey with high-fructose corn syrups in order to supply the demand. There is a requirement for keepers to treat bee colonies with antibiotics to prevent CCD and other diseases such as varroa mites and there is a chance that these harmful drug residues can be transferred through to the end product ‘natural’ honey. The use of antibiotic drugs in apiculture is globally restricted and there are no MRLs set for antibiotics in honey as it a natural product and needs to be antibiotic free, this has cause the need for testing both for drug residues and the overall quality of the honey being produced.
Due to the requirement to use a variety of drug treatments in the food industry and also the potential economic benefits to be gained from the use of growth promoters, there will continue to be use in animal production. However, as analytical methods of detection become more sensitive, producers are given further options for testing.
The surveillance for the potential presence of these residues of veterinary substances is regulated by the EU Directive 86/469/EEC. This directive outlines the guidelines for sampling and testing within a residue monitoring programme.
The requirement to meet these standard and the MRLs and detection levels outlined in the legislation has created a need for analytical methods to become more sensitive to ensure correct analysis. On some occasions MRL’s have been lowered which require a technology sensitive enough to detect very low concentrations in a sample.
One such screening method that is commonly used is the Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) methods, which work well for testing and providing accurate results.
Randox Food have developed another method of analysis using the Evidence Investigator which uses similar methodology to ELISA methods. The analyser uses biochip array technology (BAT) to perform simultaneous quantitative detection of multiple analytes from a single sample and can be used across multiple matrix types including the products produced by the industries mentioned. The core technology is the Randox biochip, this contains an array of discrete test regions containing immobilized antibodies specific to the drug residues under test.
These methods are rapid, reliable, and sensitive so are able to detect residues in very small concentrations. The Randox methods are developed in line with EU Directive 86/469/EEC and as such are an effective testing method for multiple areas of the food industry.
For further information please contact the Randox Food Diagnostics team by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
Neighbourhoods across Spain recently came together to form the National Network of Cities and Neighbourhoods affected by Narcopisos, which are abandoned buildings used as drug flats. The Guardian reported how the organisation aims to raise awareness of Spain’s drug problem and shut down the empty properties being used as distribution points to buy, smoke and inject heroin.
Neighbours living close to narcopisos have described the scene as filthy, loud and dangerous. Blood, faeces and syringes have been found on the stairs and doorways to the buildings accompanied with people passing out or fighting. With cheap heroin of a poor quality, the largest narcopiso in Carrer d’en Roig was shut down after receiving up to 150 clients an hour. Barcelona’s city council cleaned up areas and secured properties in Raval as part of a €500,000 project. However, drug dealers are reportedly moving quicker than the courts and police.
When it comes to heroin, dealers do not discriminate and neither does the product. Business executives, pregnant women, teenagers and people with disabilities have all been victim to narcopisos in Spain. In areas such as La Linea de la Concepción, unemployment is at 80% and drug dealing is seen as an opportunity for the youth to make money. In 2017, director the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), Alexis Goosdeel reported, “Opioids and often heroin, are present in the majority of cases, often in combination with alcohol or benzodiazepine.”
Utilising our patented Biochip Array Technology, our DoA ULTRA panel offers the most comprehensive drugs of abuse screen across multiple forensic matrices. Detecting up to 20 targets drugs including heroin and other opioids, it has the largest cross-reactivity profile of over 240 analytes. Our excellent assay precision and performance eliminates false reporting, offering CVs of typically <10%. Randox Toxicology produce an accurate drug profile to ensure confidence in results.
Randox Clinical Laboratory Services is built upon Randox’s 35 years as an invitro diagnostics company, and is on hand to assist your drug discovery ensuring the toxicity and efficacy of your drug before proceeding to Phase 1 of your clinical trial.
RCLS currently has four state of the art, fully functional ISO12025 accredited laboratories across the UK. They are situated in Liverpool, London and two in Northern Ireland, Hollywood and Randox Science Park in Antrim.
RCLS looks to expand their team of experienced scientists, working towards further accreditations and furthermore setting up two additional labs in Dubai and Los Angeles. The addition of these purpose-built labs will give RCLS the ability to increase output to both the pharmaceutical, health and research market.
The RCLS laboratories offer unrivalled sample management and workflow with a unique identifier and sample traceability allowing patient history to be 100% accurate and guaranteed. The storage locations of sample are located separately with a duration of 15-25 years in fire proof cabinets. The sample rejection criteria and sample destruction processes are different from diagnostics standards as we offer multiple bar coding, sample manifests dictated by LIMS and double blinding of samples undergoing genomic testing.
A variety of analysers are situated across all RCLS laboratories not only including our RX Series and Evidence Series of multiplex immunoassay analysers but also third party analysers ensuring the testing abilities are diverse. The equipment covers chemistry, haematology, urinalysis and immunoassay testing capabilities.
With a greater understanding of human complexity, pharmaceutical companies are now focusing on developing safer drugs tailored to specific patient groups or sub-groups and the expansion plans in motion at RCLS will help these organisations bring new drugs to the market quicker.
If you would like more information on RCLS please contact email@example.com
A recent report by the Independent discussed how buying drugs has become as easy as buying ice cream. The report comes after experts named London as a city where cocaine is now delivered faster than pizza. According to the NHS, in the UK 2.7 million people between the ages of 16 and 59 took an illicit drug in 2015 and 2016 (roughly one in 12 adults). As a result, the Global Drug Survey are now looking at the impact of encrypted mobile phone messaging services and other methods that have enabled quick drug deliveries.
However, the drug problem is worldwide. In the US, life expectancy has fallen for the second consecutive year amid concerns of increased drug related deaths, the first multi-year drop since 1962 and 1963 according to the US National Centre for Health Statistics (NCHS). The NCHS documented that more than 63,600 US deaths in 2016 were due to drug related overdoses, a number that continues to increase.
MDMA has continued to appear in the news, after the deadly substance was responsible for the recent deaths of multiple teenagers in the UK. Also known as Ecstasy, MDMA is often described as the original designer drug due to its link with the dance culture in the late 80s and early 90s. Randox Toxicology’s DoA II panel tests for common drugs of abuse, including MDMA and generic opioids.
With the use of Biochip Array Technology, we have made multiplex testing capabilities possible. Our level of expertise in toxicology research and development allows us to adapt quickly to the ever-changing drug market influences and develop assays for current and novel drug trends.
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Purity is a concern with MDMA, which is regularly sold containing other fatal drugs. Newshub released information from Wendy Allison at KnowYourStuffNZ, who stated that only 20 percent of the drugs they tested in New Zealand contained MDMA. KnowYourStuffNZ’s website advises people to avoid certain pressed pills containing large amounts of MDMA. Theses pills include “Green Guccis”, a rectangular green pill with the Gucci logo and “Yellow Rolexes”, a yellow pill shaped like the Rolex crown logo. The comedown of Ecstasy can cause users to feel depression, whilst long term users can suffer from memory problems and anxiety. The use of the Class A drug has also been linked to liver, kidney and heart problems.
Within any business, companies seek to outline clear methods in which employees should act and behave whilst carrying out their roles. These rules are outlined in company workplace policies. Every business – no matter which industry it operates in – should have well-documented and comprehensive workplace policies and procedures in place.
According to the Employment Law Handbook, a workplace policy is a set of rules and principles that aims to provide guidance to managers and workers in how to behave in the workplace. They can be in place for numerous different issues – bullying, harassment, internet use, health and safety are just a few that can be implemented.
Health and Safety
As mentioned above, health and safety is an important aspect of any workplace policy. The health and well-being of the working community is of utmost importance for sustainable development. Specifically, a drug and alcohol policy is a key part of the overall health and safety policy within a company. Alcohol and drugs through their effects on health, safety, work performance and absenteeism can jeopardise productivity, deny businesses the leading edge and curtail competitiveness. Effectively implemented drug and alcohol policies will help employers in the legal duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of employees.
The need for a Drug and Alcohol Policy
Drugs and alcohol misuse can have dangerous consequences within the workplace. All organisations can benefit from an agreed policy that applies to all staff. There are wide range of statistics available to highlight the worrying impact that drugs and alcohol can have on individuals. In 2016, it was estimated that £7 billion was lost in productivity through unemployment and sickness. Furthermore, 10.8 million adults in England are drinking at levels that pose some risk to their health. A survey carried out by UK based Health and Safety Consultants Protecting.co.uk showed that; from 2,600 workers in office, factory, retail and the public sector, 85% admit to being drunk at work in the last year; not including the Christmas party. 28% of those surveyed admitted using drugs at work, including NPS (formerly legal highs) cannabis and other illegal substances.
From a legal point of view, employers have a duty of care under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of employees. Also, under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, to assess the risks to the health and safety of employees. If an employer knowingly allows an employee under the influence of drug misuse to continue working and his/her behaviour places the employee or others at risk, they may face prosecution.
Advantages of having Policies in place
Having well-developed policies and procedures can provide a range of benefits to an organisation. An effectively implemented drug and alcohol policy will ensure a clear understanding within the workplace of the rules relating to drugs and alcohol. It will also provide a greater awareness in workplaces of the effects of drugs and alcohol an consequently early recognition. Furthermore, it ensures that the necessary structures and procedures are in place should a problem arise. An up to date policy will also provide assurance that key staff have been trained to understand the issues involved and have the necessary skills to deal with any problems should they arise.
How can Randox Testing Services help?
At Randox Testing Services we offer a comprehensive consultancy service to help employers create, an effective substance misuse policy. By providing this service we offer practical advice, guidance and support in composing a substance misuse policy.
Our confidential policy review service provides assistance to employers with an existing substance misuse policy. With this service, we help to modify existing documents to ensure it is legally viable and can withstand challenge in court.
To read more on workplace policies and their importance within an organisation, click here.