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List of Announcements

  • WASHINGTON D.C., United States – April 2018: As of 15 April 2018, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has received reports of 126 cases of people suffering from severe bleeding, including three deaths after the use of synthetic cannabinoid products. Between 10 March and 5 April 2018, several persons in Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, and Wisconsin were also presented to emergency departments with unexplained serious bleeding after having used synthetic cannabinoids. A working hypothesis of the authorities concerned is that these synthetic cannabinoid products were contaminated with brodifacoum. Laboratory investigation confirms brodifacoum exposure in at least 18 patients and at least three synthetic cannabinoid product samples related to this outbreak have tested positive for brodifacoum. Health authorities have warned the public about recent increased risks from use of these products.

    According to the Maryland Poison Center and the Maryland Department of Health, reported symptoms related to the use of these synthetic cannabinoid products include:

    • Bruising
    • Nosebleeds
    • Bleeding of the gums
    • Bleeding out of proportion to the level of injury
    • Vomiting blood
    • Blood in the urine or stool
    • Excessively heavy menstrual bleeding
    • Excessive back pain

    For further information and updates on this ongoing development, please see:

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – “Outbreak Alert: Potential Life-Threatening Vitamin K-Dependent Antagonist Coagulopathy Associated With Synthetic Cannabinoids Use”

    Illinois Department of Public Health – “Synthetic Cannabinoids”

    UNODC Report “Synthetic cannabinoids: Key facts about the largest and most dynamic group of NPS”

  • VIENNA, Austria – March 2018: From 20 to 22 March 2018, the UNODC Laboratory and Scientific Section (LSS), in collaboration with the UNODC Regional Office for Central America and the Caribbean in Panama (UNODC ROPAN), conducted the first capacity building workshop on “Drug identification with handheld electronic field testing devices” for law enforcement and laboratory officers in Central America and the Caribbean. This workshop was held in Panama City and attended by officers from the Bahamas, the Dominica Republic, Jamaica, Panama, and Trinidad and Tobago. Training enhanced the capacity of law enforcement and laboratory personnel to identify a wide range of controlled substances as well as new synthetic substances. This workshop was the first training to introduce the use of hand-held electronic field testing devices, a Raman spectrometer, for which UNODC guidelines and a training course had been recently developed. The meeting was closed with a handing over ceremony of two handheld electronic field testing devices for Panama to the Minister for Public Security, His Excellency Alexis Bethancourt. Following the workshop, each attending country will receive 2 Raman spectrometers.

    For more information, please see:

    UNODC Guidelines on Raman Handheld Field Identification Devices for Seized Material

    Tweet – “UNODC conducts its first training on using handheld electronic field testing devices for drug and precursor identification in Central America and the Caribbean”

    Tweet – “UNODC conducts its first training on using handheld electronic field testing devices for drug and precursor identification in Central America and the Caribbean” (Spanish)