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CCENDU Drug Alerts and Bulletins

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The Canadian Community Epidemiology Network on Drug Use (CCENDU) produces alerts and bulletins on drug use trends or topics of im​mediate concern. CCENDU alerts and bulletins use rapidly assembled information ranging from scientific literature to observations by people directly serving local, high-risk populations.

Recently Released​

Drug Trends and Related Harms at Canadian Music Festivals​​​ – August 2017
This bulletin provides a snapshot of drug use trends, known drug risks and lessons learned from observing festivals from May 1, 2017 to July 31, 2017, across Canada. This information can be used to inform efforts to safeguard attendees at subsequent festivals with the latest information and best practices.

Past Alerts and Bulletins

Calling 911 in Drug Poisoning Situations​​​ – March 2017
This bulletin provides the first Canadian estimates on rates of calling 911 in drug poisoning situations. People trained to administer naloxone and who had used a naloxone kit to treat an overdose did not call 911 in 30% to 65% of overdoses. The bulletin recommends that anyone distributing naloxone to laypeople emphasize the critical importance of calling 911 in drug poisoning situations.

Novel Synthetic Opioids in Counterfeit Pharmaceuticals and Other Illicit Street Drugs​​​ – June 2016
This bulletin aims to outline the implications of newer synthetic opioids for front-line workers, and those working in related fields. This bulletin includes information on W-18, even though emerging evidence calls into question whether W-18 is an opioid.

The Availability of Take-Home Naloxone in Canada​​​ – March 2016
This bulletin provides a snapshot of existing take-home naloxone programs in Canada and an overview of the remaining steps required to make naloxone available without a prescription in Canada after its removal from the Prescription Drug List.

Deaths Involving Fentanyl in Canada, 2009-2014​ ​​ – August ​2015
This bulletin reports on the marked increase in the number of deaths involving fentanyl in Canada between 2009 and 2014, with data collected from 12 participating provinces and territories. During this period, deaths increased significantly in Canada’s four largest provinces, ranging from almost doubling to an increase of over 20 times.

Fentanyl-related Overdoses​ – February 2015
This alert is to advise that, as of February 6, 2015, there continues to be reports of fatal and non-fatal overdoses that are suspected or confirmed to involve non-pharmaceutical (illicit) fentanyl. Most overdoses appear to be in individuals who thought they were using heroin, oxycodone, cocaine or another substance, but have mistakenly taken fentanyl.​

Drug-related Harms at Canadian Music Festivals – September 2014
This bulletin addresses drug-related deaths and illnesses that occurred at Canadian music festivals during the summer of 2014. The bulletin issues a call for additional information and announces the assembly of a group of experts to inform the development of recommendations for preventing, preparing for, and responding to drug-related overdoses at large festivals.​​

Synthetic Cannabinoids​ – March 2014
This CCENDU bulletin contains an overview of synthetic cannabinoids and their presence in Canada.

Increasing Availability of Counterfeit Oxycodone Tablets Containing Fentanyl – February 2014 ​
This alert is to advise that counterfeit oxycodone (popular brand name OxyContin®) pills containing fentanyl have become increasingly available in several Canadian communities. The presence of fentanyl in these counterfeit pills increases the risk of overdose among people using them.

Desomorphine – November 2013 ​
As of November 21, 2013, there have been no confirmed reports of desomorphine in Canada or the United States. Unconfirmed reports might have resulted from the observation of severe wounds at injection sites among drug users.

Illicit Fentanyl – July 2013 ​
Reports from Canada and the United States indicate that illicit fentanyl produced in clandestine laboratories, rather than diverted prescription-grade fentanyl, has been appearing for sale on the streets.

Misuse of Opioids in Canadian Communities – ​May 2013
A series of short snapshots describing opioid misuse in Canadian communities.

Bath Salts – June 2012
Information on a new and emerging synthetic amphetamine-type drug referred to as "bath salts."

Update: September 26 2012 — The Government of Canada made methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) illegal in September 2012 by placing it in Schedule I of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA), in the same category as heroin, cocaine and ecstasy. The new rules mean that activities such as possession, trafficking, possession of MDPV for the purposes of trafficking, importation, exportation and production are illegal unless authorized by regulation.

Information contained in CCENDU drug alerts and bulletins is considered true and accurate at the time of publication.