January 2019 – United States: Combined seizure of fentanyl and methamphetamine made at the US-Mexican border
TUCSON, United States – January 2019: On January the 31st 115 kg of fentanyl and 179 kg of methamphetamine were attempted to be trafficked into the United States (Arizona) from Mexico. The drugs were concealed in a special floor compartment in a trailer that was laden with cucumbers. This was the largest seizure of fentanyl in the history of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The non-medical use of fentanyl and its analogues has resulted in a significant number of deaths in North America over the last few of years.
Source: Photo taken from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
TAIPEI CITY, Taiwan (Province of China) - January 2019: The Food and Drug Administration Taiwan (Province of China) recently published data on NPS for the period of October 2008-2018, whereas ketamine was the substance most frequently detected among all seized NPS listed. In total, reportedly ketamine was detected 216,195 times in seizures  within the ten-year period, followed by mephedrone with 59,401 detections and methylone (bk-MDMA) with 33,432 detections. Below, the table indicates an overview of the top nine detected substances among all NPS seizures in Taiwan (Province of China).
Table: New psychoactive substance cases in Taiwan (Province of China) 10/2008-10/2018
Source: Food and Drug Administration Taiwan (Province of China).
For further information, please see:
 Detection of substances in seizure cases do not imply an exclusivity of a single substance found. In case mixed substances were found, as for instance ketamine and mephedrone, each of them are counted as a detection.
SAN JOSÉ, Costa Rica - December 2018: The annual report of the Costa Rican Drug Observatory on the national situation of drugs and related activities revealed that new psychoactive substances were identified by the forensic laboratories in Costa Rica during the year 2017. 25B-NBOMe, N-benzylpiperazine, ketamine, mescaline, DOC and the synthetic cannabinoids JWH-018 and JWH-073, were listed among the reported substances.
The report further highlights the challenge of detecting NPS for the national police force, as not all police bodies are equipped with devices that are able to identify NPS in the field. Consequently, the Costa Rican Drug Observatory emphasizes the importance of capacity building and adequate equipment for the national police, together with a stronger focus on prevention activities among the user groups of NPS.
So far, a total of 22 different NPS have been reported to the UNODC Early Warning Advisory on NPS by Costa Rica, mostly piperazines (7 substances), followed by phenethylamines (6) and synthetic cannabinoids (4).
Source: Laboratorio de Ciencas Forenses del Poder Judicial.
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December 2018 – UNODC: Intergovernmental expert group meeting on international challenges posed by the non-medical use of synthetic opioids
VIENNA, Austria – December 2018: On 3 to 4 December, the intergovernmental expert group meeting on international challenges posed by the non-medical use of synthetic opioids was convened by UNODC, together with INCB and WHO, at the Vienna International Centre. Challenges of synthetic opioids include the non-medical use of medicines, such as tramadol, and NPS with opioid effects, including many analogues of fentanyl. Experts at the meeting agreed that international and multilateral cooperation across relevant sectors should be increased, including collaboration between law enforcement, justice and health sectors. Regarding the public health aspect of non-medical use of synthetic opioids, participants noted that increased data collection at the national, regional, international levels is required, to better identify the scope of the synthetic drug problem so efforts can be more targeted and effective.
The meeting immediately preceded the reconvened sixty-first session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), held from 5 to 7 December 2018. The two-day meeting enabled Member States, regional and international organisations to share experiences, learn more about the challenges involved and propose core elements and innovative approaches for an international response. A report of the meeting will be developed and made available in all official UN languages for the sixty-second regular session of the CND.