Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tests to catch the makers of dangerous 'legal high' designer drugs

Date:
October 14, 2011
Source:
University of Strathclyde
Summary:
Urgently needed tests which could help identify the manufacturers of designer 'legal high' drugs are now being developed.

Urgently needed tests which could help identify the manufacturers of designer 'legal high' drugs are being developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. The drugs, known by names such as 'ivory wave' and NRG-1" and sold labelled as bath salts, plant food and incense, mimic the effects of illegal drugs such as amphetamine, cocaine and ecstasy. Although these so-called 'designer drugs' can be dangerous, many have not yet been made illegal and are difficult to detect with current drug tests.

A means of potentially tracing the source of the raw materials, and consequently providing information as to who is making the 'bath salts,' is being developed by scientists at Strathclyde and The James Hutton Institute.

The bath salts drug can cause euphoria, paranoia, anxiety and hallucinations. It often contains mephedrone, a synthetic compound structurally related to methcathinone, which is found in Khat -- a plant which, like mephedrone itself, is illegal in many countries.

The bath salts drug is labelled as being not for human consumption and is not illegal in the UK but its import has been banned. The term 'bath salts' is used by those who sell the drug as a way of circumventing legislation when supplying it.

The researchers developing tests for the drug are using a technique known as isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) to reveal the course of a drug's manufacture.

The research is being carried out by Dr Oliver Sutcliffe, at the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, and Professor Niamh Nic Daeid and Dr Katy Savage at the Centre for Forensic Science in the Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry, in collaboration with Dr Wolfram Meier-Augenstein at The James Hutton Institute.

Dr Sutcliffe said: "The legal status of designer drugs varies around the world but they present many dangers to users and these are borne out by the Home Office's decision to ban the import of 'bath salts.'

"The new method we have used has enabled us to work backwards and trace the substances back to their starting materials. IRMS measures the relative amounts of an element's different forms- it is successful because these relative amounts are transferred like a fingerprint through the synthesis of the drug."

In previous research, the Strathclyde team developed the first pure reference standard for mephedrone, as well as the first reliable liquid chromatography test for the substance, which could be run in a typical law enforcement lab.

The team has also developed a comprehensive screening method for 16 known legal high drug variants using conventional gas chromatographic analysis and are developing a semi- quantitative colourimetric test kit for legal highs which can be used by law enforcement at point of seizure, facilitating a more rapid response to these materials.

The project was presented at the recent 242nd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), which was held in Denver.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Strathclyde. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Strathclyde. "Tests to catch the makers of dangerous 'legal high' designer drugs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111013121703.htm>.
University of Strathclyde. (2011, October 14). Tests to catch the makers of dangerous 'legal high' designer drugs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111013121703.htm
University of Strathclyde. "Tests to catch the makers of dangerous 'legal high' designer drugs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111013121703.htm (accessed August 2, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Texas Quintuplets Head Home

Texas Quintuplets Head Home

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 1, 2014) After four months in the hospital, the first quintuplets to be born at Baylor University Medical Center head home. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Patient Coming to U.S. for Treatment

Ebola Patient Coming to U.S. for Treatment

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 1, 2014) A U.S. aid worker infected with Ebola while working in West Africa will be treated in a high security ward at Emory University in Atlanta. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) Health officials are working to fast-track a vaccine — the West-African Ebola outbreak has killed more than 700. But why didn't we already have one? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) Previous studies have made the link between birth control and breast cancer, but the latest makes the link to high-estrogen oral contraceptives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins