Alprazolam and Prescription Drug Abuse
Alprazolam, also known as the trade name Xanax, is a widely prescribed anxiety drug in the US. Alprazolam is a minor tranquilliser which can cause sedation, short term memory loss and depress the nervous system, slowing down the brain and body. Recommended for short term use, the drug can be highly addictive and only be obtained on private prescription in the UK.
People have been known to crush or melt the dangerous tranquilliser that comes in a tablet form, to inject the substance. Extremely dangerous and fatal, the chalk in the tablets can cause collapsed veins and lead to an abscess and infection.
A recent article by BBC News uncovered that Alprazolam is being purchased online and abused by children as young as 13. The news comes after reports of social media sites being used to buy dangerous substances and locate drug dealers. In 2017, up to 20 teenagers from Wiltshire needed treatment after using Alprazolam. This year in Sussex alone, several young people have been admitted to hospital after taking the prescription drug.
A spokesperson from Pfizer, a Xanax manufacturer, expressed concerns over the alarming rise of counterfeit Xanax drugs and the growing availability on the dark web. Discussing the issue, they mentioned that ingredients such as boric acid, heavy metals and floor polish have been found in counterfeit Xanax medications. Defined as “part of our youth culture” Nick Hickmott from Addaction states, it is currently debatable how many people are currently using Alprazolam. London’s MP Bambos Charalambous has called for awareness campaigns and further research to be conducted in order to support services.
Alprazolam is not the only widely abused prescription drug, as criminal gangs were reported smuggling tens of millions of prescription drugs out of the UK’s protected supply chain. Northern Ireland have also expressed concerns over the rise of pregabalin, with BBC spotlight revealing a 46% rise from a data base of 20 million prescription records written by GPs across the country in the past four years. However, the biggest killer in Northern Ireland is tramadol, a prescription painkiller taken by thousands daily.
Randox Toxicology offer the most comprehensive drugs of abuse test menu across multiple forensic matrices. Our level of expertise in toxicology has enabled us to provide the DoA ULTRA panel, which can screen for a wide range of prescription drugs of abuse, including Alprazolam and Tramadol. Using our revolutionary Biochip Array Technology, Randox Toxicology provide a complete immunoassay profile in the initial screening phase.
For further information, please contact the Randox PR team via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 028 9442 2413
Newly emerged figures from Public Health England have documented that the UK’s current approach to drug treatment has failed to reduce drug related deaths. With UK drug abuse now at an all-time high, 2017 saw a 23% increase in treatment presentations for crack cocaine use, according to The Conversation. An additional article by the Business Insider UK reported that seizures related to cocaine in Britain are now at their highest since 2008.
Crack cocaine is a powerful stimulant designed to temporarily speed up the mind and body. Freebase cocaine (powder cocaine) and crack cocaine (rock form cocaine) can both be smoked to reach the brain quicker, whilst snorting the substance causes a slower effect. A very addictive substance, cocaine is reported to make a user over confident and careless with risks including, breathing and mental health problems, depression and the risk of an overdose related death. When taken in conjunction with alcohol the dangers of cocaine are increased, as the mixture produces the toxic chemical, cocaethylene.
The Conversation highlighted “Cuts to drug treatment budgets are extremely shortsighted. Not only do effective services save lives, they reduce the spread of blood-borne viruses, including HIV. About half of people who inject drugs have hepatitis C. Getting them into treatment is an essential part of plans to eliminate the disease.” At Randox Toxicology we offer the most comprehensive drugs of abuse test menu across multiple matrices. Our DoA ULTRA panel detects up to 20 targeted drugs, offering the largest cross-reactivity profile of over 240 analytes, including Benzoylecgonine/Cocaine. Benzoylecgonine is the most common metabolite measured in urine drug screens to detect cocaine. Using our revolutionary Biochip Array Technology, Randox Toxicology provide cutting-edge multiplex testing capabilities for rapid and accurate drug detection from a single sample.
The price of cocaine has fallen by 13% since 2007 according to Business Insider UK. Price trends in addition to new and emerging UK supply routes have made the drug more appealing and readily available. Whilst the average age group using cocaine is 35 years old, a 30% increase has been seen in young people under the age of 25 years old. A rise which has not been witnessed in a decade.
The increase of cocaine use has shown how vital drug treatment is in responding to the ever-changing market, with services needing to adapt quickly to the needs of varied groups. Amidst the ongoing cocaine problem, Randox Toxicology are leading the way in developing new tests through significant research and development.
Randox celebrates British Science Week 2017
Last week was British Science Week 2017, an annual campaign that aims to inspire innovation and celebrate science. To mark the occasion, Randox Laboratories got involved by celebrating the innovation of each Randox product group. The product groups within Randox shared a series of posts, videos and blogs showcasing the #ScienceBehindRandox throughout British Science Week.
To initiate the Randox British Science Week campaign, Randox shared this video, which highlights the company’s dedication to improving health worldwide. The video provides an introduction about each product group, however throughout British Science Week, each product group has gone into further detail about the #ScienceBehindRandox.
Randox Careers, the RX series, Randox Reagents, Randox Quality Control, Randox Toxicology, Randox Biosciences, Randox Testing Services, & Randox Food Diagnostics all got involved in the British Science Week Campaign. You can read a snippet of each product groups post below, with videos and links to the full content also provided. We hope you enjoy learning about the #ScienceBehindRandox.
Randox – Dedicated to improving health wordwide.
Joanne Darragh spent some time with Randox Careers to discuss her role as R&D Toxicology Manager.
“Working in this area has been both challenging and exciting as we are at the cutting edge of assay development. We work in a great team and we work along very closely alongside other departments such as Marketing & Sales so that we are in close contact with what the customer needs, which means we are producing relevant tests very quickly and effectively. Every day brings a new challenge.”
– Joanne Darragh, R&D Toxicology Manager
Listen to what Joanne had to say on the video above
Randox RX series
As part of British Science Week, the RX series caught up with Daniel Melly, one of our very talented Mechanical Design Engineers based in Randox Teoranta in Dungloe, Ireland.
Daniel was an integral part of the team involved in the design of our new semi-automated analyser, the RX misano. The RX series asked Daniel a few questions about why Randox created this analyser, the design process involved in creating such a unique system, and what his favourite features are.
“Randox set out in creating the RX misano with the philosophy of supplying the customer with a more modern, reliable, and aesthetically pleasing analyser than those that are currently available on the market. Robust part selection was always at the fore of any design decisions, and we feel that we have delivered on all of these requirements.”
– Daniel Melly, Randox Mechanical Design Engineer
One unique test by Randox, adiponectin, is becoming an increasingly significant biomarker for health professionals. Low levels have been linked with several illnesses including metabolic syndrome, cancer and cardiovascular disease.
What is adiponectin?
Adiponectin is a protein hormone produced and secreted by fat cells called adipose tissue. Adiponectin is normally found in relatively high concentrations in healthy individuals. Its role in the body is to regulate the metabolism of lipids and glucose, which influences the body’s response to insulin and inflammation.
At Randox, our R&D Scientists are helping to change healthcare. By investing heavily into research and development to develop unique diagnostics tests, such as the adiponectin test, Randox provide doctors with the ability to identify disease risk sooner- offering the opportunity to prevent illness, rather than the need to find a cure.
Randox Quality Control
One Simple Change to Randox Quality Control can save your laboratory time and money.
Randox Quality Control are a world leading manufacturer of true third party controls with over 390 analytes covering Antioxidants, Blood Gas, Cardiac Markers, Routine Chemistry, Coagulation, Haematology, Diabetes, Immunoassay, Immunology, Lipids, POCT, Therapeutic Drugs, Toxicology and Urine Chemistry, providing complete test menu consolidation. Randox Quality Control produces the most consistent material available with the most accurate target values.
Randox Quality Control guarantee to simplify QC practice in any laboratory, just ask one of their 60,000 users worldwide.
Find out more information about Randox Quality Control in the video above
Randox Toxicology provides trusted solutions for the screening for drugs of abuse. With significant reinvestment in Research and Development, we persistently stay ahead of this ever challenging market. Being the first to develop New Psychoactive Substances tests such as fentanyl, bath salts and flakka allows us to maintain our position as a global leader.
Our pioneering technology has created a number of advancements in the field of toxicology. In particular, our patented Biochip Array Technology which can simultaneously screen from a multi-analyte testing platform, achieving a complete immunoassay profile from the initial screening phase.
During British Science Week, we are delighted to introduce you to our latest development utilising this technology; our Gastropanel Array,* a multiplex test engineered to diagnose those at risk of developing peptic ulcers and gastric cancer using non-invasive methods.
Our Gastropanel Array encompasses two quantitative assays, a H. pylori assay for the detection of antibodies produced in response to a H. pylori infection, a common cause of gastric cancer1 as well as a 3plex Gastropanel assay, for the detection of pepsinogen I (PGI), pepsinogen II (PGII) and gastrin 17 (G17).
Currently recorded as the world’s 5th most common cancer, the majority of gastric cancer cases are diagnosed after presenting as an emergency, when treatment may be less effective due to the cancer being at an advanced stage, highlighting the need for the availability of diagnostics tests like our Gastropanel Array to enable practitioners to administer prompt treatment and ultimately increase survival rates on a global scale.
Randox Testing Services
Randox Testing Services have shown how they are at the forefront of continually reacting and developing tests for NPS. NPS (formerley known as Legal Highs) have had devastating effects on users since emerging in the UK in 2008. These substances are highly dangerous and have caused unnecessary deaths. This is due to the effects from different elements used in production. Legislation concerning the substances changed in 2016 with the implementation of the Psychoactive Substance Act.
How have Randox Testing Services implemented change? Find out in the video above
Randox Food Diagnostics
Of the 41 antibiotics that are approved for use in food-producing animals by the FDA, 31 are medically important for human health. Randox Food Diagnostics provides advanced screening solutions for 94% of these antibiotics including beta-lactams, quinolones and tetracyclines, allowing you to ensure the integrity of your end product without compromising quality. Randox Food provides multiplex screening solutions validated across a range of matrices including urine, serum, tissue, milk, honey and feed.
The Evidence Investigator matched with Biochip Array Technology (BAT) provide the end user with fast, reliable results to aid in ensuring your produce is antibiotic free. BAT provides a platform for the simultaneous determination of multiple drug residues from a single sample using miniaturised immunoassays with implications in the reduction of sample/reagent consumption and an increase in the output of test results.
- α-PVP , ‘Flakka’ or ‘$5 Insanity’ devastating communities in US
- UK based scientists create World’s first test for detection of Flakka
- Experts ‘on watch’ for Flakka appearance in UK and Ireland
- Randox Toxicology, the world leader in designer drug detection has developed a ground breaking test for detection of Flakka, a dangerous and highly addictive new psychoactive substance.
Use of α-PVP with the street names of ‘Flakka’ and ‘$5 Insanity’ is most prevalent in the United States, particularly in Florida, parts of which are experiencing what can only be described as an epidemic. Reports of the devastating impact in Broward County, Florida, have made headlines world-wide, with users experiencing psychosis-fuelled ‘super-human’ strength; inciting violent crime. The drug can also cause hyperthermia; extreme temperature elevation, which requires immediate treatment to stem disability or death.
α-PVP is a type of ‘bath salt’, a group of drugs called synthetic cathinones which are rising in popularity due to their low costand potent side effects. α-PVP / Flakka takes the form of a white or pink, foul-smelling crystal that can be eaten, snorted, injected, or vaporized in an e-cigarette or similar device. Vaporizing is the most popular form of consumption, because it quickly sends the drug into the bloodstream, making it particularly easy to overdose. Like other drugs of this type, α-PVP can cause a condition called “excited delirium” that involves hyper-stimulation, paranoia, hallucinations and perceived ‘super human strength’ that can lead to aggression and self-injury.
Now, scientists at Randox Toxicology have created the World’s first test for Flakka. A specialist research team has deconstructed the components of the drug and developed a simple urine test which can detect the presence of α-PVP even at very low levels. Randox Toxicology, which works with law enforcement agencies around the globe, hopes that the test will assist police services and doctors tackling Flakka at the frontline, as Dr Joanne Darragh explains:
“We know Flakka, we know what it does to the body and mind, we also know that it is made by underground chemists, who are unregulated and that it has absolutely no place in pharmaceuticals. Our key focus is to stay ahead of the producers, to develop tests for these dangerous drugs before they flood the market.”
Dr Darragh’s team has been working on the test for the past six months and has created a format which allows it to be turned around from sample to results within 2 hours. Meanwhile, Dr Darragh says her chief scientists are watching for the first signs of Flakka in the UK:
“The majority of Flakka comes from China direct into the US and although we aren’t aware of any cases in the UK, that, could of course change. Our scientists are working with International government bodies, leading clinicians and law enforcement agencies to monitor trends, study police cases and analyse market intelligence.
“New psychoactive substances are being produced almost as quickly as we can develop tests for them, all it takes is one tweak to a molecule and you have something that is an unknown. This is the challenge, for us as scientists, for the police, for medics and for users – we don’t always know what is in them and this is what makes so called legal highs incredibly dangerous.”