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Current Substance Use Trends and Evolving Risks

April 10 @ 11:00 am - 12:30 pm

For those who grew up associating drugs with natural sources like marijuana plants, poppy fields, and cocoa leaves, it can be tough to keep up with the shift to synthetic drugs made of chemicals some people may not know they’re ingesting. This workshop will help participants understand the current drug landscape, including stimulants (e.g. methamphetamine and cocaine), powerful opioids like fentanyl and nitazines, and xylazine, an animal tranquilizer increasingly showing up in the drug supply in some regions. It will also cover drug use trends, such as increasing polysubstance use, higher potency drugs, and the risks of mixing illicit drugs, alcohol, and medications. Participants will learn about factors that have contributed to rising overdose rates—including nonfatal overdoses—strategies to minimize risks, and how to recognize and respond to an overdose, as well as where to obtain naloxone.


Increase participants’ awareness of current drug use patterns, the increasing potency of both plant-based and synthetic drugs, and how to prevent, recognize, and respond to an overdose.

Workshop Outline:

  • Discuss drug use trends (increasing polysubstance use, shift to synthetics vs. plant-based drugs, mixing prescription medications & illicit drugs, increasing stimulant use).
  • Present graphics depicting increasing strength and potency of illicit drugs (cannabis, methamphetamine, etc.) and effects of different drugs.
  • Overview of fentanyl and xylazine as well as other drugs like nitazines + kratom.
  • Overdose statistics and definitions (opioid vs stimulant ODs).
  • Risk factors for an overdose (including nonfatal overdoses).
  • Strategies to reduce overdose risks.
  • Signs of an overdose.
  • Naloxone – brief overview and where to get it, plus sources for additional training.
  • Good Samaritan laws protecting people who respond to an overdose.


April 10
11:00 am - 12:30 pm
Event Category:




Mental Health Technology Transfer Center Network
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