Designer drugs put youths at risk, but recipe changes tie officers’ hands

Via Dallas News

 A week before he died, the 15-year-old honors student had taken an illustrated book to pastures near his Frisco home looking for psychedelic mushrooms. He didn’t find any, so he tried what he thought was LSD on Dec. 14. Convulsions began within an hour after he ingested 25I, a synthetic hallucinogen more potent than LSD. The Collin County medical examiner ruled that his death was connected to the drug. In what appears to be a growing problem, three more overdoses possibly linked to 25I were reported in McKinney last weekend. They appear not to have been fatal.

Efforts to criminalize emerging designer drugs in Texas fell flat in the most recent legislative session, making it more challenging for law enforcement agencies to crack down on the problem.

Nationally, at least 19 deaths have been linked to a set of synthetic drugs known as the NBOMe compounds, including 25I, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. The users ranged from 15 to 29 years old. Texas Poison Control Network has tallied 25 calls related to NBOMe since 2012. Six came from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Stymied in Austin

In November, the DEA temporarily added three NBOMe drugs to Schedule I.  In February, the Department of State Health Services added three NBOMe compounds to the state’s list of controlled substances. The temporary move allows prosecutors to pursue criminal charges, but only misdemeanors, regardless of the amount of the drugs.

Though the state banned K2 in 2011, other kinds of “fake pot” have surfaced since. And if the chemistry is slightly different from what’s in the law, dealers can avoid prosecution.

Law enforcement and public health officials said Huffman’s bills would address that problem by outlawing certain designer drugs and other compounds with the same core chemical structure.

Dueling experts

Like the federal government, Texas has provisions to cover analogs — drugs that are substantially similar to some illegal substances based on their chemical makeup or effects on users.

For every case, prosecutors would have to prove in court that the compound in question was similar enough to an illegal narcotic.

“It comes down to a battle of the expert witnesses,” said Samms, who wrote to lawmakers in support of Huffman’s proposed legislation.

And some cases don’t even make it to court if law enforcement or health officials can’t trace a drug.

NMS Labs in Pennsylvania, which does forensic testing for medical and legal clients across the country, handled its first NBOMe case in 2012.

“They’re very potent, so it takes very little drug to have its effects,” toxicologist Donna Papsun said. “The challenge was creating a test with a low enough detection level so we could properly detect it in the fluids.”

Posted: 4/22/2014 10:42:00 AM

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Temporary Placement of 10 Synthetic Cathinones Into Schedule I

From the DEA:

The Deputy Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is issuing this final order to temporarily schedule 10 synthetic cathinones into schedule I pursuant to the temporary scheduling provisions of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). This action is based on a finding by the Deputy Administrator that the placement of these synthetic cathinones and their optical, positional, and geometric isomers, salts and salts of isomers into schedule I of the CSA is necessary to avoid an imminent hazard to the public safety. As a result of this order, the regulatory controls and administrative, civil, and criminal sanctions applicable to schedule I controlled substances will be imposed on persons who handle (manufacture, distribute, import, export, engage in research, conduct instructional activities, and possess), or propose to handle these synthetic cathinones.

NOTE:  The 10 substances are: 4-methyl-N-ethylcathinone ("4-MEC"); 4-methyl-alpha-pyrrolidinopropiophenone ("4-MePPP"); alpha-pyrrolidinopentiophenone ("α-PVP"); 1-(1,3-benzodioxol-5-yl)-2-(methylamino)butan-1-one ("butylone"); 2-(methylamino)-1-phenylpentan-1-one ("pentedrone"); 1-(1,3-benzodioxol-5-yl)-2-(methylamino)pentan-1-one ("pentylone"); 4-fluoro-N-methylcathinone ("4-FMC"); 3-fluoro-N-methylcathinone ("3-FMC"); 1-(naphthalen-2-yl)-2-(pyrrolidin-1-yl)pentan-1-one ("naphyrone"); and alpha-pyrrolidinobutiophenone ("α-PBP").


Posted: 3/19/2014 12:15:00 PM

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DEA extends emergency controls on chemicals used for fake pot, still plans permanent controls

From The Washington Post:

The Drug Enforcement Administration is extending emergency controls for six more months on five chemicals used to make fake pot products.

The agency is working on permanently designating smokable herbal products containing the five chemicals as controlled substances. The DEA took emergency action a year ago, making it illegal to possess and sell the five chemicals or products containing them.

The agency says the extension will provide time to complete the steps to permanent controls.

Posted: 3/1/2012 9:16:00 AM

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DEA Moves to Emergency Control Synthetic Marijuana

From the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency:

The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is using its emergency scheduling authority to temporarily control five chemicals (JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-200, CP-47,497, and cannabicyclohexanol) used to make “fake pot” products. Except as authorized by law, this action will make possessing and selling these chemicals or the products that contain them illegal in the U.S. for at least one year while the DEA and the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) further study whether these chemicals and products should be permanently controlled.

Posted: 11/24/2010 2:07:00 PM

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