Global drug tests provider Randox Toxicology has today pledged its support for the PSNI in the fight against fentanyl, a strong painkiller which has been found for sale on the black market in Northern Ireland for the first time.
Fentanyl, which is an opioid pain medication currently classed as a controlled Class A drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, has been found in heroin which was seized by the PSNI, and has been linked to two deaths in Northern Ireland this year.
It is currently used to safely treat patients with severe pain, as it can be 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. According to the National Crime Agency and Office for National Statistics however, 60 deaths in the UK in the past eight months have been attributed to misuse of fentanyl, which received international attention when the singer Prince was found to have died from a fentanyl overdose.
Dr. Peter FitzGerald, Founder and Managing Director of Randox Laboratories, commented;
“It is extremely worrying to hear that the PSNI have confirmed fentanyl has reached the black market in Northern Ireland. The illegal sale of the painkiller has long been an issue in the USA, with the country having at least two million opioid addicts, but until now has not been used illegally in NI.
“Fentanyl’s status as a painkiller is potentially why it is so commonly abused, as those using prescription painkillers may turn to illicit substances, such as fentanyl, when their prescriptions run out. With as little as 2mg able to cause an overdose, fentanyl is easily hidden and transported in small packages through the post, so poses a major danger to society. The drug has high abuse potential and is being used more and more by drug dealers who can sell fentanyl at a cheaper price than heroin.”
Randox Toxicology, a specialist division of FitzGerald’s Antrim-headquartered Randox Laboratories, has today issued a statement to pledge its commitment to removing the danger of fentanyl from Northern Ireland. The company’s significant investment in the research and development of new tests for drug detection has cemented its status at the forefront of the drugs screening industry. Randox Toxicology, which developed its first fentanyl test in 2007, has the world’s only tests for the designer opiates U-47700, MT-45 and AH-7921.
Dr. Joanne Darragh, Head of Research and Development at Randox Toxicology, commented;
“In the endless pursuit of creating innovative tests for new drugs which emerge weekly on to the market, our expertise at Randox Toxicology sets us apart from the rest of the industry. Not only have we been first to market with a number of opioid tests, but we have also developed our patented Biochip Array Technology, which enables us to simultaneously screen for both fentanyl and heroin, one of which may have been laced with the other.
“Today we pledge the support of our expertise, based on a decade’s worth of experience in developing fentanyl tests, to the PSNI in their efforts to remove the fentanyl threat from Northern Ireland. This is a problem that we must tackle together and we are confident that by highlighting this growing epidemic, we can educate communities on the devastating effects the misuse of fentanyl can have.”
For further information about Randox Toxicology’s fentanyl screrening please contact Randox PR on 028 9445 1016 or email RandoxPR@randox.com
Children who are prescribed antibiotics are 12 times more at risk of acquiring drug-resistant infections in the weeks afterwards, according to a leading public health figure.
Public Health England medical director Paul Cosford told the Science and Technology Committee this week that the risk is greater for younger people than it is for adults.
“We’ve got good evidence that if you or I have a course of antibiotics now, within three months our risk is three times to get a resistant infection of some sort because we’ve had the antibiotics affecting all the organisms in our bodies. If you’re a child you’re 12 times more likely to get a resistant infection in the three months after a course of antibiotics.”
Whilst acknowledging that the drugs do a have part to play, Cosford stressed this had to be done correctly – and compared antibiotics to “using a pesticide in a rich woodland.” At the same time as tackling the harmful infection the drugs will destroy useful bacteria in the gut.
The information was taken from two major reviews on the routine-use of antibiotics in primary care, and he said the results underline the importance of continued efforts to decrease prescription rates.
“There is a growing body of evidence that taking antibiotics makes it more likely that your next infection will be a resistant one, so prudent use of these life-saving medicines is essential.”
One review looked at children who had urinary tract infections and found that they were more than 13 times more likely to have contracted drug-resistant strains if they had been given antibiotics in the previous six months.
The 2014 Longitude Prize survey of antibiotics in primary care revealed that 90% of British GPs felt pressure from patients to give out the drugs, and almost half had done so knowing it would not treat the patient’s condition.
Mark Woolhouse, Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at Edinburgh University told The Guardian that the consequences of antibiotic resistance required a global plan, just as with climate change. However he added that, “In terms of the threat to my own health, and that of my children, and my family’s health, I am much more concerned about antimicrobial resistance than I am about climate change.”
Randox is supporting the battle against antibiotic resistance. Our wide range of related products includes our Respiratory Multiplex Array which tests 22 common virus and bacteria pathogens can detect whether an antibiotic should be prescribed.
John Lamont, Chief Scientist at Randox Laboratories, whose team developed the molecular test, commented;
“Current diagnostic testing for respiratory infections takes at least 36 hours to confirm the nature of an infection, and they cannot name and categorise infections as bacterial or viral in the way that our respiratory test can. C-reactive protein tests, for example, that are currently in use can only indicate whether a bacterial infection is likely. We need more than just guess work to combat the antibiotic resistance pandemic.”
For more information, please visit http://www.randox.com/respiratory-multiplex-array/ or contact RandoxPR@randoxcom
To coincide with the start of World Antibiotic Awareness Week the UK Government is being urged to ban excessive use of antibiotics in farming by a group of leading doctors, according to The Daily Telegraph.
Made up of 12 royal medical colleges, the British Medical Association and the Faculty of Public Health, the group say that the UK should “use the opportunity afforded by Brexit to lead the world in banning” preventative prescription of medicines on animals.
A decision made by the European Parliament earlier this year to ban mass agricultural medication has not yet been ratified by member states or the European Commission.
A Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ spokesman told the newspaper that dealing with AMR is a “top priority” though the paper notes it ‘stopped short of promising a ban.’
In 2015 McDonalds set itself a two year deadline to stop its US restaurants buying chicken raised with human antibiotics. It led to one of the US’s leading meat producers – Tyson Foods – promising to end the practice by September 2017 – which is, as The Guardian stated, “one of the most aggressive timelines yet set by an American poultry company.” The company’s CEO Donnie Smith told the newspaper: “We have found as we have reduced the level of antibiotics we use, whether it’s human use or vet-only, our cost has actually gone down. A lot of the ways we’ve been able to accomplish this is by working with our farmers on better husbandry practices. If this millennial mum wants a no-antibiotic ever..nugget we better supply that.”
Farmers Weekly reported this month on a Danish Crown initiative launched in 2015 whereby pig farmers attach an antibiotics-free tag to piglets at the neonatal stage. It’s removed at any point if antibiotic treatment is deemed necessary. It claims that although early farm trials suggest a production fall of up to 2.5 piglet per sow per year, the “premium covers additional costs if 35% or more piglets carry the tag to the slaughterhouse.”
Pig farmer Stine Mikkelsen carried out a major review of hygiene and health on her farm to reduce antimicrobial use to boost revenue by £11.25 per pig. She says that although production is down and labour costs did increase, it “feels good” to farm in this way. She told the newspaper, “I am very motivated to do something about it – it’s a hard route to take but I have a good feeling about this system.”
Randox Food Diagnostics is working with global leaders in the food industry to tackle antibiotic resistance and safeguard their use for both human and veterinary treatment.
Using a dedicated research and development team, Randox have the ability to respond rapidly to emerging new drugs of abuse and regulations in relation to food and animal safety, with sixty-five new residue drug targets are currently in development to keep up with the ever changing market of food safety. Randox Food Diagnostics are ensuring that all residue screening laboratories requirements are met by providing reliable food safety screening on a global scale.
On top of the food safety product range Randox Food also offer a range of analysers, reagents and test kits for use throughout the winemaking process to ensure quality is maintained in every bottle.
For more information on what we do, please visit: www.randoxfood.com
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