Randox pledges support for PSNI in the fight against fentanyl
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
We’re sure you’ve heard of “Speed Dating”, but what about “Speed Networking”? Randox’s R&D Scientist, Dr. Dwaine Vance tried it out to spread the word about Randox Careers in STEM!
Dr Dwaine Vance visited Omagh High School to represent Randox Careers. He sat down with us, and we discussed the importance of the event. Dr. Vance told us:
On Wednesday the 15th June I represented Randox Careers at a ‘speed networking’ event at Omagh High School. This involved groups of students moving from one employer stand to the next for a 5 minute ‘mini network’. There was two sessions during the morning involving GCSE level pupils. The aim of the ‘speed networking’ event was to provide pupils with opportunities to meet local Northern Irish companies within the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) sectors, of which Randox Laboratories play a pivotal role.
We, at Randox, want to inspire students to think about their own career plans and to allow them to gather information about the local job market. By doing this, we’re also giving them the opportunity to be aware of the jobs that are available and the importance of STEM related subjects, as well as letting them see how employers value their other curriculum subjects and their personal skills and attributes. My objective as a employee of Randox was to showcase a range of careers for all abilities within the company with a focus on STEM careers e.g. science and engineering.
The importance of spreading awareness of the opportunities in science and engineering from a young age is imperative, as many students are unaware of the vast range of differentiation in different careerpaths, stemming from one subject or degree class. Dr. Dwaine Vance went on to discuss the events of the networking conference:
As part of each ‘mini network’ I provided students with a brief overview of Randox. Students were given the opportunity to watch videos depicting our expertise and to ask questions about how their interests could be incorporated within Randox. The training department at Randox provided me with pop-up stands, recruitment pathway brochures, merchandise e.g. pens, stopwatches, mug coasters and even Biochip Array Technology key rings!
Overall the students gained a good knowledge of Randox, they were particularly keen to learn about the local and global opportunities available at Randox. In addition, students were keen to know more about the veterinary aspect of Randox. It was comforting to discover that the majority of pupils had previous knowledge of the Randox brand from the press (as we have recently experienced a great boost in brand visibility through Grand national sponsorship), Randox health (television adverts) and Confidante (local radio stations).
The pupils at Omagh High School were keen to ask me about my role within the company and what my day to day roles and responsibilities are. I was happy to provide students with my research and development activities and they were interested to hear that I was involved in the development of a genetic test that aims to predict your future risk of heart disease by investigating your own DNA.
At Randox I am part of a small team of experienced research scientists that are developing a genetic risk prediction test for heart disease and myocardial infarction. This test aims to simultaneously genotype 20 genetics variants that have been previously associated with increased risk of heart disease. This Randox molecular test is in collaboration with leading University academics and will help reduce the burden of heart disease throughout the world by providing an accurate risk assessment of disease so personalised treatment can be provided to those who require it most. To quote Randox Health, “Prevention is better than cure”.
From everyone at the Randox Careers team and from Dr. Dwaine Vance, we’d like to thank Omagh High School for inviting us to attend this incredibly beneficial Speed Networking event, where we feel we have truly impacted the young minds of tomorrow. We look forward to the future of diagnostics, with you!