The 2020 edition of Drugs of Abuse, A DEA Resource Guide has been released by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), providing comprehensive information about the most commonly abused and misused drugs in the US.
The guide includes information on a drug’s origin, common street names, how it is abused, what effect it has on the mind and body, what the overdose effects are, and what its legal status is in the US. In addition, images and descriptions are provided to help medical practitioners, as well as law enforcement, identify these commonly abused agents in the field.
Since 2017, updates have been made to the digital edition to reflect new and emerging trends in drug misuse and abuse. Specifically, updated information has been included for fentanyl, marijuana and marijuana concentrates, vaping and stimulant drugs.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), opioids were involved in approximately 70% of drug overdose deaths in 2018. The number of overdose deaths decreased from the previous year, however, deaths involving synthetic opioids (illicitly manufactured fentanyl, including fentanyl analogs) increased by 10% in 2018.
Meanwhile, vaping-related lung injuries have been on the rise as the popularity of e-cigarettes has grown across the nation. The deadly respiratory illnesses were linked to additives, particularly vitamin E acetate, found in marijuana vape cartridges.
As for marijuana, the guide reviews the current legal status of the drug in the US. Marijuana continues to be a Schedule I substance under federal law, indicating that it has no approved medical use, however several states have allowed its use for medicinal purposes. Currently, there are 2 synthetic forms approved by the Food and Drug Administration, Marinol and Syndros, both for the treatment of nausea/vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy and for anorexia with weight loss in AIDS patients. Epidiolex, an oral solution of cannabidiol, is also approved for the treatment of Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome; the DEA recently descheduled Epidiolex removing all federal controlled substance restrictions on the product.
For more information and to view the 2020 Drugs of Abuse resource guide, visit getsmartaboutdrugs.gov/publications.