3. Early Warning Systems are Critical to Drug Control Strategies to Protect Public Health and Safety
Protecting the public begins with an initial report. The rapid appearance and proliferation of new psychoactive substances (NPS) represent significant challenges to public health and law enforcement officials. Early detection and harm reporting for NPS are critical to prioritizing substances for evaluation and a potential regulatory response. This underscores the great value in monitoring for emerging drug trends. The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is the primary agency responsible for enforcing controlled substances laws and regulations in the United States.
The DEA strives to develop information sources on the prevalence and distribution of drugs commonly available and used, as well as NPS. DEA continues to modify programs and identify new opportunities to improve early reporting. The National Forensic Laboratory Information System represents an important resource in early detection and monitoring of drug trafficking trends.
Encountering a new substance triggers a series of responses including evaluation of its potential for abuse and its threat to public health and developing a regulatory response if warranted. Partnerships and collaborations remain critical to information sharing and best practices. DEA continues to foster collaboration with local, federal, and international partners for improved data sharing.
A proof of concept is DEA’s recent efforts to regulate novel benzimidazole-opioids in the United States.