The Opioid Epidemic

160503-rxOpioids are increasingly in the news, most recently with the sudden death of rock musician Prince at the age of 57.

Opioids are chemicals that bind to receptors in your brain or body.  While morphine is derived naturally from opium, newer opioids such as Vicodin and oxycodone are manufactured synthetically.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, opioid use in the U.S increased by more than 400 percent from 1997 to 2007. This has led to widespread addiction and abuse. Opioids now cause more American deaths than heroin.

Researchers in Poland employed whole-genome microarray sequencing to measure the effects of opioids on specific regions of the brain. They used an Agilent Bioanalyzer system and Agilent high sensitivity DNA kit in their work.

Researchers with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration discovered that alcohol significantly increases the body’s absorption and enhances the adverse effects of oxycodone, oxymorphone and atenolol. The researchers used an Agilent HPLC and Zorbax column in their work.

Agilent has developed several methods for detecting, measuring and analyzing the presence of opioids and other drugs. An Agilent LC/MS can analyze opioids, cocaine and cocaine metabolites in a single blood specimen with high sensitivity. An Agilent triple-quad mass spectrometer can analyze several opiates in urine, providing the most sensitive form of quantitation.

For Forensic Use


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