Sri Lanka taking measures to tackle the opium abuse crisis
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.
A letter published by The New England Journal of Medicine documented that officials from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA); Douglas C. Throckmorton, Scott Gottlieb and Janet Woodcock have warned that non-opioid painkillers could be at the forefront of the next wave of drug abuse.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that over 42,000 deaths in the US were due to opioid abuse in 2016, with 40% of all opioid related deaths having involved prescription opioids. As a result, the FDA are encouraging doctors to prescribe alternative opioid drugs when possible and are developing new therapeutics to help people dealing with pain.
However, fears have been raised that curbing prescription opioid abuse could lead to opioid substitutes being used. Substances that are being closely watched include over the counter treatments; benzodiazepines and kratom.
Benzodiazepines are minor tranquillisers used to treat anxiety and insomnia. The effects include sedation, suppressing fits and making the user feel calm and relaxed. When mixed with other depressant drugs like heroin or alcohol, benzodiazepines can cause short term memory loss and nasty withdrawal symptoms such as tremors, anxiety and vomiting. These tranquillisers come in tablet form which people may crush or melt to inject, making them extremely dangerous and sometimes fatal.
The tropical tree known as kratom, grows in marshy areas around Asia and contains the active chemicals mitragynine, mitraphylline and 7-hydroxymitragynine. The effects of taking kratom include an opiate like sedation and a stimulated state of alertness, whilst higher doses can trigger severe nausea and vomiting. Heavy use of the drug can also cause constipation, darkening of the skin, insomnia, dry mouth and anorexia.
Did you know that cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of death in women? Cardiovascular disease, or CVD, accounts for 27% of all female deaths. That’s much higher than what is commonly thought to be the biggest killer of women – breast cancer. At Randox, we’re using our innovative technology to diagnose CVD cases as early as possible so appropriate treatment can be sought.
The Randox clinical product range offers a wide range of products to combat heart issues including the RX series extensive cardiac testing panel, reagents such as H-FABP, Adiponectin an TxB Cardio and an extensive cardiac QC range available in both liquid & lyophilised format.
You can find out more about how Randox is helping to diagnose women’s health issues, such as CVD, here.
What is CVD?
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a general terms for conditions that affect the heart and/or blood vessels. It is usually associated with the build-up of fatty deposits in the arteries and an increased risk of blood clots.
CVD is one of the main causes of death and disability in the UK but can often largely be prevented with a healthy lifestyle.
Types of CVD
Coronary heart disease
This occurs when the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle is blocked or reduced
A stroke is where the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off, which can cause brain damage and possibly death. A transient ischaemic attack (also called a TIA or “mini-stroke”) is similar, but the blood flow to the brain is only temporarily disrupted.
Causes of CVD
The exact cause of CVD isn’t clear, but there are lots risk factors that can increase your risk of getting it. The more risk factors you have, the greater your chances of developing CVD. Risk factors include:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Being overweight or obese
- Family history of CVD
- Ethnic background
- Stop smoking
- Have a balanced diet
- Exercise regularly
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Cut down alcohol consumption
How is Randox helping to detect CVD?
Randox has developed the RX series of clinical chemistry analysers for superior semi-automated and fully automated testing. The RX series extensive dedicated test menu goes beyond routine testing and has many unique and high-performance tests available. Our range of tests covers many tests for the diagnosis and monitoring of cardiac diseases.
|Cholesterol||CRP Full Range(0.3-160mg/l)||Direct LDL Cholesterol||sLDL|
|CK-MB||CRP High Sensitivity||Heart-Type Fatty Acid Binding Protein (H-FABP)||Triglycerides|
|CRP||Direct HDL Cholesterol||Myoglobin||Adiponectin|
Our world leading test menu of high quality reagents guarantees excellence in patient care ensuring unrivalled precision and accuracy reducing costly test re-runs or misdiagnosis and offering complete confidence in results.
The RX series clinical chemistry analysers provide laboratories with a robust and smart solution ensuring you maintain a consistent workflow and can provide accurate results first time, every time. Offering excellent customer support services, our trained engineers are on hand to work with you in preserving the continuity of your operations while maximising the potential of your RX series instrument.
For more information visit: https://www.randox.com/clinical-chemistry-analysers/
You may have heard of Companion Diagnostics. This type of diagnostic provides information that is essential for the safe and effective use of a corresponding drug or biological product. It can help to stratify groups of patients which will respond safely to a clinical drug trial, and those who may suffer undesirable side effects.
But why are Companion Diagnostics useful?
Randox Biosciences Pharma Relationship Manager Dr Miguel Quesada-González, PhD has the answer.
“As part of my new role, I’ll be supporting drug development and clinical trials. So as a scientist by background (the nature of the beast) I’ve been reading into and researching this incredibly interesting area of science.
“Since Day 1, Companion Diagnostics (CDx) especially caught my eye.
“When it comes to new drug development, either for Pharma or Biotech, there are many benefits of running a CDx. Based on well-acknowledged scientific papers that I have read, and my own personal perception of the current situation, I’d like to summarise and simplify in just 2 bullet points, what I personally believe to be the most important benefits of running a CDx.
“(a) Delivering the right treatment to the right patient at the right time.
“We should never forget that our priority is the health and integrity of patients. It’s been proven that patients who have similar diagnoses very often respond differently to the same treatment. This variability presents a risk in both the efficacy of the treatment and the safety of the patient.
“The development of a drug is already a risky, long and costly process, so wouldn’t you like to avoid the initial high risk by having a good defined target initially?
“(b) Saving time.
“Money is valuable but time even more so. Time is precious and priceless. Once it’s gone, there’s nothing we can do about it!
“The smaller and more targeted the clinical trials are, the less time and resources you’ll be spending. Normally, the CDx is not initiated until a drug has reached the later stages of development, but, actually, if you put the CDx in place at early development stages (preclinical) it presents many advantages because it enables the selected biomarker to be validated and determined before large amounts of resources have been put in place.
“The faster a potential treatment is developed and approved, the more people you can save, cure or simply improve their quality of life.”
For further information on Companion Diagnostics from Randox Biosciences please email us at email@example.com
Biochip Vs ELISA
Showcasing the journey and ongoing brand evolution of Randox Toxicology, these videos will help you to discover which method is right for you!
Episode 1: Meet ELISA
Episode 1 “Meet ELISA” uses speed reading to showcase Randox Toxicology’s extensive and ever-expanding ELISA test menu, including our range of New Psychoactive Substances, drugs of abuse, stimulants, analgesics and sedatives. Manufactured in the United Kingdom, our continuous reinvestment in research and development has enabled us to develop a range of exclusive ELISA kits such as, Mitragynine, MT-45, and U-47700 which was involved in the death of the famous singer Prince.
Our cost effective ELISA kits are the highest quality on the market and results provide excellent correlation with confirmatory methods, typically <10% CV.
Episode 2: Meet Biochip
Based on ELISA principles, Episode 2 “Meet Biochip” illustrates Biochip Array Technology as a solid-state device with discrete test sites onto which antibodies specific to different drug compounds are immobilised and stabilised. Moving away from traditional single analyte assays, Biochip Array Technology boasts cutting-edge multiplex testing capabilities for rapid and accurate drug detection from a single sample.
As the primary manufacturers of Biochip Array Technology, Randox Toxicology offer the most advanced screening technology on the market. With the world’s largest test menu capable of detecting over 500 drugs, Randox Toxicology are changing the landscape of drugs of abuse testing.
Episode 3: Biochip Vs ELISA
Episode 3 “Biochip Vs ELISA” gives you the opportunity to hear from a professional! Laura Keery our Senior Research and Development Team Leader gives you a behind the scenes look at our Biochip Array Technology and ELISA products in action at our new Science Park, answering some of those must know questions.
Episode 4: Biochip Vs ELISA 360-Degrees
If you missed it at SOFT-TIAFT 2017, our Biochip Vs ELISA 360-degree video allows you to experience Biochip and ELISA in action.
Discover which method is right for you! #biochipvselisa
A recent study completed by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) reported an all-time high of 3.6 lakh kg narcotic drugs seized in India in 2017, this was an increase of over 300 percent in the last five years. Known as ganja, cannabis is the most widely abused drug in India, increasing from 40,113 in 1999 to 352,379 by 2017, according to The Times of India.
(Sourced: The Times of India: Drug abuse on the rise in India, Ganja most in demand)
A prevalent issue in the north of India is pharmaceutical drug abuse, both over the counter and prescription drugs. The Times of India reported that 566,450 bottles of cough syrup, 58,463 injections and more than 6,300,000 tablets were recovered across India in 2017. Among the drugs being smuggled out of India and into countries such as America and Canada is the opioid painkiller Tramadol, which is not covered under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.
With daily drug seizures across the country, the situation in India has been described as akin to the US national opioid emergency. Therefore, it has been suggested that a harm-reduction approach be taken to educate the young and tackling substance abuse.
Using our revolutionary Biochip Array Technology, the Evidence MultiSTAT is a fully automated analyser that enables on-site simultaneous detection of up to 21 classical, prescription and synthetic drugs from a single sample. Designed to work across a variety of matrices and generate results in under 20 minutes, Randox Toxicology have changed the landscape of drug detection forever.
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
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.
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: email@example.com or phone 028 9442 2413
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.
|Analyte||Compound||Cross Reactivity %|
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.
With the demand for cocaine in the UK rocketing, Top British Chef Gordon Ramsay has recently travelled to Columbia to the source of the problem, to learn more about this growing epidemic.
Having spent time with local farmers who own cocaine plants that resemble vineyards, and visiting Honduras, one of the most dangerous countries and known as the world’s warehouse of cocaine, he emphasized the urgent need to combat the drugs industry that is consuming this country.
Highlighted throughout the two-part series was the amount of cocaine that is being trafficked to the shores of the UK each year. Speaking with the metropolitan police who tackle up to 200 drug gangs in London alone, it was estimated that up to 300 tons of cocaine, with a street value of £10 billion, is being brought in to the country through a web of secretive routes used by drug traffickers.
Gordon commented that not only is cocaine a growing global problem, but it is one that is prevalent within the culinary world, including his own restaurants where he has been asked to dust the drug on top of soufflés as icing sugar, and found traces of this deadly drug in both his staff and customer toilets.
With the cocaine problem showing no signs of slowing down, Randox Toxicology are constantly working to develop the newest drug tests to meet the demands of the ever-growing drug market. The Evidence MultiSTAT was developed for use in non-laboratory settings such as workplaces, police stations and low throughput laboratories and to provide highly accurate qualitative as quickly as possible.
This revolutionary analyser enables on-site simultaneous detection of up to 21 classical, prescription and synthetic drugs from a single patient sample, reducing the burden on current systems, the risk of adulteration and helping the fight against the cartels who control the cocaine trade in South America.
For more information on our Evidence Analysers or any of our drug panels email firstname.lastname@example.org
Global drug tests provider Randox Toxicology has today pledged its support for the PSNI in the fight against fentanyl, a strong painkiller which has been found for sale on the black market in Northern Ireland for the first time.
Fentanyl, which is an opioid pain medication currently classed as a controlled Class A drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, has been found in heroin which was seized by the PSNI, and has been linked to two deaths in Northern Ireland this year.
It is currently used to safely treat patients with severe pain, as it can be 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. According to the National Crime Agency and Office for National Statistics however, 60 deaths in the UK in the past eight months have been attributed to misuse of fentanyl, which received international attention when the singer Prince was found to have died from a fentanyl overdose.
Dr. Peter FitzGerald, Founder and Managing Director of Randox Laboratories, commented;
“It is extremely worrying to hear that the PSNI have confirmed fentanyl has reached the black market in Northern Ireland. The illegal sale of the painkiller has long been an issue in the USA, with the country having at least two million opioid addicts, but until now has not been used illegally in NI.
“Fentanyl’s status as a painkiller is potentially why it is so commonly abused, as those using prescription painkillers may turn to illicit substances, such as fentanyl, when their prescriptions run out. With as little as 2mg able to cause an overdose, fentanyl is easily hidden and transported in small packages through the post, so poses a major danger to society. The drug has high abuse potential and is being used more and more by drug dealers who can sell fentanyl at a cheaper price than heroin.”
Randox Toxicology, a specialist division of FitzGerald’s Antrim-headquartered Randox Laboratories, has today issued a statement to pledge its commitment to removing the danger of fentanyl from Northern Ireland. The company’s significant investment in the research and development of new tests for drug detection has cemented its status at the forefront of the drugs screening industry. Randox Toxicology, which developed its first fentanyl test in 2007, has the world’s only tests for the designer opiates U-47700, MT-45 and AH-7921.
Dr. Joanne Darragh, Head of Research and Development at Randox Toxicology, commented;
“In the endless pursuit of creating innovative tests for new drugs which emerge weekly on to the market, our expertise at Randox Toxicology sets us apart from the rest of the industry. Not only have we been first to market with a number of opioid tests, but we have also developed our patented Biochip Array Technology, which enables us to simultaneously screen for both fentanyl and heroin, one of which may have been laced with the other.
“Today we pledge the support of our expertise, based on a decade’s worth of experience in developing fentanyl tests, to the PSNI in their efforts to remove the fentanyl threat from Northern Ireland. This is a problem that we must tackle together and we are confident that by highlighting this growing epidemic, we can educate communities on the devastating effects the misuse of fentanyl can have.”
For further information about Randox Toxicology’s fentanyl screrening please contact Randox PR on 028 9445 1016 or email RandoxPR@randox.com