NRG-1 legal high advice set to be published
Guidance on drug NRG-1 is set to be published by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) later.
It is widely expected to recommend the banning of the so-called legal high.
Meanwhile, research published in the British Medical Journal suggests many substances sold legally contain similar ingredients to mephedrone, which was banned in April, and pose health risks.
Researchers bought 17 drugs from 12 UK-based websites over a six-week period after mephedrone became a Class B drug. They found these substances tend to contain the same substance or related chemicals.
Mephedrone, which was also known as Meow, Bubbles and M-CAT, is made up of a compound class called cathinones.
Experts from Liverpool John Moores University, the University of Liverpool and Lancaster University, said many drugs being sold legally are also cathinones.
Writing in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), they said NRG-1 products, also known as Energy 1 or naphyrone, were found to be "recently banned cathinones that just carried a new label" following chemical analysis. The researchers went on: "This suggests that both consumers and online sellers are, most likely without knowledge, at risk of criminalisation and potential harm.
"This has important health and criminal justice consequences that will require carefully thought out responses and further investigation."
And Simon Brandt, senior lecturer in analytical chemistry at John Moores, said: "The analysis showed that those sold as legal alternatives turned out to be related to mephedrone and some of them were just, in fact, mephedrone.
"About 70% contained mephedrone or mephedrone-related products. When we analysed these white powders we found cathinones, related products or a mixture."
Page last updated at 1:10am, Wednesday 7th July 2010
Mephedrone alternatives ‘dangerous’
Many of the alternatives to mephedrone available on the internet are just as risky, experts have warned. The substances, which are being touted as "legal substitutes" for mephedrone, actually contain the same substance or related chemicals, they said.
Mephedrone was widely sold as a "legal high" until it was banned in April following the deaths of two teenagers. Louis Wainwright, 18, and Nicholas Smith, 19, died in March, sparking concern about the stimulant. Toxicology tests in May showed they had not taken the drug. Mephedrone, also known as Meow, Bubbles and M-CAT, is made up of a compound class called cathinones. It is now a Class B drug.
On Tuesday, experts from Liverpool John Moores University, the University of Liverpool and Lancaster University, said many drugs being sold as substitutes for mephedrone are also cathinones. Writing in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), they said "one of the most prominently discussed second generation products" is Energy 1 (also called NRG-1 or naphyrone).
These products are offered as legal substitutes for the recently criminalised 'legal highs', the mephedrone derivatives," they said.
The researchers bought 17 drugs from 12 UK-based websites over a six-week period following mephedrone's ban. They chemically analysed the drugs and found that most of the "NRG-type products were recently banned cathinones that just carried a new label".
The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) is due to publish advice on NRG-1. It is widely expected to recommend the drug is banned.
UK Press Association
7th July 2010, updated 1am
Nice to see the mainstream press have picked up on Dr. Brandt's findings. The flow of logic in the BBC article is a bit odd though.. NRG-1 has been found to contain beta-ketones that are already controlled substances, but the ACMD will recommend a ban on NRG-1? Presumably they meant to say that the ACMD are expected to recommend controlling naphthylpyrovalerone (Naphyrone).
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