Concept: Law enforcement agency
Background New psychoactive substances constitute a growing and dynamic class of abused drugs in the United States. On July 12, 2016, a synthetic cannabinoid caused mass intoxication of 33 persons in one New York City neighborhood, in an event described in the popular press as a “zombie” outbreak because of the appearance of the intoxicated persons. Methods We obtained and tested serum, whole blood, and urine samples from 8 patients among the 18 who were transported to local hospitals; we also tested a sample of the herbal “incense” product “AK-47 24 Karat Gold,” which was implicated in the outbreak. Samples were analyzed by means of liquid chromatography-quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry. Results The synthetic cannabinoid methyl 2-(1-(4-fluorobenzyl)-1H-indazole-3-carboxamido)-3-methylbutanoate (AMB-FUBINACA, also known as MMB-FUBINACA or FUB-AMB) was identified in AK-47 24 Karat Gold at a mean (±SD) concentration of 16.0±3.9 mg per gram. The de-esterified acid metabolite was found in the serum or whole blood of all eight patients, with concentrations ranging from 77 to 636 ng per milliliter. Conclusions The potency of the synthetic cannabinoid identified in these analyses is consistent with strong depressant effects that account for the “zombielike” behavior reported in this mass intoxication. AMB-FUBINACA is an example of the emerging class of “ultrapotent” synthetic cannabinoids and poses a public health concern. Collaboration among clinical laboratory staff, health professionals, and law enforcement agencies facilitated the timely identification of the compound and allowed health authorities to take appropriate action.
On the evening of June 23, 2016, a white powder advertised as cocaine was purchased off the streets from multiple sources and used by an unknown number of persons in New Haven, Connecticut. During a period of less than 8 hours, 12 patients were brought to the emergency department (ED) at Yale New Haven Hospital, experiencing signs and symptoms consistent with opioid overdose. The route of intoxication was not known, but presumed to be insufflation (“snorting”) in most cases. Some patients required doses of the opioid antidote naloxone exceeding 4 mg (usual initial dose = 0.1-0.2 mg intravenously), and several patients who were alert after receiving naloxone subsequently developed respiratory failure. Nine patients were admitted to the hospital, including four to the intensive care unit (ICU); three required endotracheal intubation, and one required continuous naloxone infusion. Three patients died. The white powder was determined to be fentanyl, a drug 50 times more potent than heroin, and it included trace amounts of cocaine. The episode triggered rapid notification of public health and law enforcement agencies, interviews of patients and their family members to trace and limit further use or distribution of the fentanyl, immediate naloxone resupply and augmentation for emergency medical services (EMS) crews, public health alerts, and plans to accelerate naloxone distribution to opioid users and their friends and families. Effective communication and timely, coordinated, collaborative actions of community partners reduced the harm caused by this event and prevented potential subsequent episodes.
We assessed 12-month prevalence and incidence data on sexual victimization in 5 federal surveys that the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted independently in 2010 through 2012. We used these data to examine the prevailing assumption that men rarely experience sexual victimization. We concluded that federal surveys detect a high prevalence of sexual victimization among men-in many circumstances similar to the prevalence found among women. We identified factors that perpetuate misperceptions about men’s sexual victimization: reliance on traditional gender stereotypes, outdated and inconsistent definitions, and methodological sampling biases that exclude inmates. We recommend changes that move beyond regressive gender assumptions, which can harm both women and men.
: Novel synthetic opioids (NSOs) include various analogs of fentanyl and newly emerging non-fentanyl compounds. Together with illicitly manufactured fentanyl (IMF), these drugs have caused a recent spike in overdose deaths, whereas deaths from prescription opioids have stabilized. NSOs are used as stand-alone products, as adulterants in heroin, or as constituents of counterfeit prescription medications. During 2015 alone, there were 9580 deaths from synthetic opioids other than methadone. Most of these fatalities were associated with IMF rather than diverted pharmaceutical fentanyl. In opioid overdose cases, where the presence of fentanyl analogs was examined, analogs were implicated in 17% of fatalities. Recent data from law enforcement sources show increasing confiscation of acetylfentanyl, butyrylfentanyl, and furanylfentanyl, in addition to non-fentanyl compounds such as U-47700. Since 2013, deaths from NSOs in the United States were 52 for acetylfentanyl, 40 for butyrylfentanyl, 128 for furanylfentanyl, and 46 for U-47700. All of these substances induce a classic opioid toxidrome, which can be reversed with the competitive antagonist naloxone. However, due to the putative high potency of NSOs and their growing prevalence, it is recommended to forgo the 0.4 mg initial dose of naloxone and start with 2 mg. Because NSOs offer enormous profit potential, and there is strong demand for their use, these drugs are being trafficked by organized crime. NSOs present major challenges for medical professionals, law enforcement agencies, and policymakers. Resources must be distributed equitably to enhance harm reduction though public education, medication-assisted therapies, and improved access to naloxone.This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License 4.0 (CCBY-NC-ND), where it is permissible to download and share the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way or used commercially without permission from the journal. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0.
Synthetic cannabinoids (SCs), commonly known by the street name “Spice,” are designer drugs of abuse that mimic the psychoactive effects of marijuana. Intentional SC use has resulted in multiple toxicities (1,2), but little is known about occupational SC exposure. After a federal agency’s law enforcement personnel in Nevada reported irritability and feeling “high” after raiding illegal SC laboratories and processing seized SCs, a request for a health hazard evaluation was made by the agency to CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in 2014 to evaluate agents' occupational SC exposures. After making the request for a health hazard evaluation, federal agents conducted a raid of an illegal SC laboratory, with assistance from local law enforcement and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) personnel and with NIOSH investigators observing from a distance. After the raid, agents collected and processed material evidence. NIOSH investigators tested agents' urine for SC levels before and after the raid and measured SCs in the air and on surfaces after the raid. DEA determined that AB-PINACA (an SC compound) and mitragynine (a plant material with opium-like effects, also known as “kratom”) were present in the illegal laboratory. AB-PINACA, its metabolites, and mitragynine were not detected in agents' urine before the raid; however, one or more of these substances was found in the urine of six of nine agents after the raid and processing of the SC evidence. AB-PINACA was detected in one surface wipe sample from the SC laboratory; none was detected in the air in the laboratory or in the offices of the law enforcement agency where the materials were processed after the raid. No policies were in place regarding work practices and use of personal protective equipment (PPE) during raids and evidence processing. To protect agents from SC exposures, NIOSH recommended that the agency require agents to wear a minimum level of PPE (e.g., protective gloves and disposable clothing) and undergo training in PPE and in handling and storing of contaminated evidence from SC laboratory raids. Showers and locker rooms also need to be provided so that agents can reduce contamination and prevent take-home exposure.
This research builds on three decades of effort to produce national estimates of the amount and rate of force used by law enforcement officers in the United States. Prior efforts to produce national estimates have suffered from poor and inconsistent measurements of force, small and unrepresentative samples, low survey and/or item response rates, and disparate reporting of rates of force. The present study employs data from a nationally representative survey of state and local law enforcement agencies that has a high survey response rate as well as a relatively high rate of reporting uses of force. Using data on arrests for violent offenses and the number of sworn officers to impute missing data on uses of force, we estimate a total of 337,590 use of physical force incidents among State and local law enforcement agencies during 2012 with a 95 percent confidence interval of +/- 10,470 incidents or +/- 3.1 percent. This article reports the extent to which the number and rate of force incidents vary by the type and size of law enforcement agencies. Our findings demonstrate the willingness of a large proportion of law enforcement agencies to voluntarily report the amount of force used by their officers and the relative strengths and weaknesses of the Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics (LEMAS) program to produce nationally representative information about police behavior.
Objectives. We sought to understand how local immigration enforcement policies affect the utilization of health services among immigrant Hispanics/Latinos in North Carolina. Methods. In 2012, we analyzed vital records data to determine whether local implementation of section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act and the Secure Communities program, which authorizes local law enforcement agencies to enforce federal immigration laws, affected the prenatal care utilization of Hispanics/Latinas. We also conducted 6 focus groups and 17 interviews with Hispanic/Latino persons across North Carolina to explore the impact of immigration policies on their utilization of health services. Results. We found no significant differences in utilization of prenatal care before and after implementation of section 287(g), but we did find that, in individual-level analysis, Hispanic/Latina mothers sought prenatal care later and had inadequate care when compared with non-Hispanic/Latina mothers. Participants reported profound mistrust of health services, avoiding health services, and sacrificing their health and the health of their family members. Conclusions. Fear of immigration enforcement policies is generalized across counties. Interventions are needed to increase immigrant Hispanics/Latinos' understanding of their rights and eligibility to utilize health services. Policy-level initiatives are also needed (e.g., driver’s licenses) to help undocumented persons access and utilize these services. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print December 18, 2014: e1-e9. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2014.302218).
To examine the extent to which law enforcement agencies (LEAs) and gun retailers are willing to offer voluntary, temporary storage as a part of an overall suicide prevention effort.
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
- Published almost 4 years ago
Laboratory-based mock crime studies have often been interpreted to mean that (i) eyewitness confidence in an identification made from a lineup is a weak indicator of accuracy and (ii) sequential lineups are diagnostically superior to traditional simultaneous lineups. Largely as a result, juries are increasingly encouraged to disregard eyewitness confidence, and up to 30% of law enforcement agencies in the United States have adopted the sequential procedure. We conducted a field study of actual eyewitnesses who were assigned to simultaneous or sequential photo lineups in the Houston Police Department over a 1-y period. Identifications were made using a three-point confidence scale, and a signal detection model was used to analyze and interpret the results. Our findings suggest that (i) confidence in an eyewitness identification from a fair lineup is a highly reliable indicator of accuracy and (ii) if there is any difference in diagnostic accuracy between the two lineup formats, it likely favors the simultaneous procedure.
Internet sales of human remains occur despite the existence of laws prohibiting such action in most jurisdictions. The most popular public platform for online sales, eBay, allows users to postskeletal material for sale, largely anonymously and without much fear of legal repercussions. This survey of skeletal sales was conducted 10 years after the first article published about online human remains sales. A review of current laws reveals that, while many states have laws that restrict any sale of human remains, those laws have questionable deterrent effect. Assessing the skeletal material posted for sale provides law enforcement agencies with a necessary starting point to curtail the sale of human remains through enforcement of existing laws. Ultimately, the goal is to stem the commodification of such items and to recover skeletal material, especially that which may be of archaeological or forensic significance, and provide the proper final disposition for such material.