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Rapid identification of new drugs through online monitoring tools: The case of NBOMe drugs - Dr Monica J Barratt - DrugInfo seminar - New and emerging drugs
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Rapid identification of new drugs through online monitoring tools: The case of NBOMe drugs - Dr Monica J Barratt - DrugInfo seminar - New and emerging drugs

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The rapid proliferation of new drugs available to Australians has necessitated the use of innovative techniques to monitor their emergence. In this presentation, Monica uses the example of NBOMe drugs …

The rapid proliferation of new drugs available to Australians has necessitated the use of innovative techniques to monitor their emergence. In this presentation, Monica uses the example of NBOMe drugs (reportedly sold as
‘legal LSD’) to outline 4 ways of monitoring drug use trends online and in real-time (Google Trends, drug user forums, Twitter, and Silk Road). These tools are freely available for use by clinicians, AOD workers and researchers who are seeking further information about new drugs presented by clients, or that are talked about in their work.

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  • 1. Rapid identification of new drugs through online monitoring tools The case of NBOMe drugs Dr Monica J. Barratt Research Fellow, NDRI, Melbourne 0407 778 938 m.barratt@curtin.edu.au @monicabarratt
  • 2. The challenge • • • • New drugs are rapidly emerging Survey research: months to years. if ever… Secondary data: 1 to 3 years! if ever… Can we better harness internet technologies to monitor new drugs in real-time?
  • 3. Real-time online monitoring • What is happening here, right now? • Four tools I will demonstrate today: – Google trends – Bluelight.ru (drug user forum) – Twitter – Silk Road (online drug marketplace)
  • 4. Example: NBOMe drugs • Classical hallucinogens • Structurally similar to 2C-x class – E.g. 25i-NBOMe related to 2C-I • • • • Potency: microgram dosage, on blotters Availability: easily sent in the post Legality: analogue laws likely applicable Public health: associated deaths and serious incidents reported in media; scant other published research
  • 5. 1. Google Trends
  • 6. 2. Forum (Bluelight.ru)
  • 7. 3. Twitter
  • 8. 4. Silk Road
  • 9. Summary • Real-time data on 25x-NBOMe (25 April, 2013) 1. 2. 3. 4. Google Trends: search trend increasing in AU Bluelight: sold in AU as is & as LSD; use reports Twitter: no discussions in AU Silk Road: available at high potency and low price to AU customers
  • 10. Limitations • Not representative • Multiple timepoints? • Non-unique or unknown terminology – e.g. National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners • Searching Twitter geographically is restrictive • Information on harms?
  • 11. Conclusion • Demand for altered conscious states continues • New drugs are marketed to meet this demand • Freely available online tools can be used to track new drug use in sentinel groups with no delay • This information can guide: – our responses, e.g. harm reduction information – additional research via surveys and indicator data