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  1. chillinwill
    A record number of new drug compounds were detected in Europe last year, according to the EU's monitoring body.

    Its joint report with European police forces said synthetic drugs were emerging at an "unprecedented speed", driven by an online marketplace.

    These "legal highs" were a growing challenge to drugs control in the EU.

    The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) found 24 new psychoactive substances through its international early warning system.

    In its joint annual report, the EMCDDA and Europol said most of the substances were synthetic cannabinoids or various types of cathinones which are related to amphetamines.

    Synthetic cannabis, typically sold under the name Spice, was banned in the UK in December 2009.

    The most well known cathinone in the UK, Mephedrone, was banned just before the general election was called, amid an ongoing row between scientists and the government over the lack of clear evidence on its effects.

    Synthetic drugs are designed in laboratories to replicate the effects of other already banned substances.

    In most cases, the new drug's composition is almost identical to a banned substance banned, except for slight chemical modifications tweaks to the compound.

    The Lisbon-based drugs body said the 24 new substances identified in 2009 were almost double the previous record of 13 new compounds found just a year before that.

    The report said that 2009 saw nine new synthetic cannabinoids detected in the drugs market from four distinct chemical groups. There were four synthetic cathinones.

    'Growing challenge'

    With so many synthetic drugs now emerging, the monitoring body said it was becoming harder for law enforcement agencies and current laws to keep up.

    "The appearance of a large number of new unregulated synthetic compounds marketed on the Internet as 'legal highs' or 'not for human consumption' and specifically designed to circumvent drug controls presents a growing challenge to current approaches to monitoring, responding to and controlling the use of new psychoactive substances," said the report.

    "It can be anticipated that the concept of 'designer drugs' … will continue to change at an unprecedented speed.

    "With rapid technological developments, for example cheap organic synthesis coupled with the increased use of the Internet for marketing and selling new of drugs, it may be expected that synthetic analogues of other major drug groups will appear.

    "New synthetic opioids and cocaine derivatives have already been identified via the Early Warning System, albeit as isolated cases."

    It added that there had also been an increase in the presence of piperazine on the drugs market which appeared to have replaced the more common compound of MDMA in ecstasy.

    By Dominic Casciani
    April 23, 2010
    BBC News
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8639418.stm

Comments

  1. chillinwill
    Record number of legal highs reported

    A record number of "legal highs" and other uncontrolled drugs flooded in to Europe last year, the EU drugs agency has warned.

    [IMGR="black"] http://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=14317&stc=1&d=1272028815[/IMGR]
    A total of 24 new substances effectively being used as legal leisure drugs were discovered across the UK and other member states, according to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA).

    The report, published jointly with Europol, warned legal "designer drugs" were growing at an "unprecedented speed" which was posing an increasing challenge.

    It said last year's level were almost double the 13 new substances found in 2008.

    Among those highlighted were the party drug Mephedrone and cannabis substitute Spice, both of which have now been banned in the UK.

    The report said the large number of new unregulated synthetic compounds marketed on the internet as 'legal highs' or 'not for human consumption' were "specifically designed to circumvent drug controls".

    It warned their appearance "shows the speed and sophistication at which the market reacts to control measures and how globalisation and innovation present a growing challenge to current approaches to monitoring, responding to and controlling the use of new psychoactive substances".

    The report warned the combination of rapid technological developments and the ease at which the substances can be sold on the internet meant new drugs are expected to appear.

    It said legal highs are being marketed as anything from air fresheners and herbal incenses to bath salts.

    Some manufacturers are even "intentionally mislabelling" with purported ingredients which are not present, it warned.

    Mephedrone, also known as miaow miaow, was made a Class B drugs earlier this month after being linked to a number of deaths.

    However, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, the Government's drugs advisers, warned that dealers were likely to have already stockpiled the drug to sell it for a bigger profit when it became illegal.

    It also emerged that the Government had earned almost £600,000 in tax after millions of pounds worth of the substance was legally imported over the past three years.

    By Tom Whitehead
    April 23, 2010
    Telegraph
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/new...21/Record-number-of-legal-highs-reported.html
  2. chillinwill
    Alarm as 24 new legal highs to replace Spice and meow meow are uncovered

    More new drug compounds than ever before were detected in Europe last year, sparking fears that Britain could be hit by a new wave of potentially harmful legal highs, it has been reported.

    Most of the 24 newly-discovered substances was either synthetic cannabis similar to Spice which was banned in 2009, or cathinones like Mephedrone which was banned two weeks ago.

    Mephedrone, also known as meow-meow, has been linked to several deaths in the UK.

    The drug was made a Class B drug after reportedly being linked to 25 deaths, yet officials who recommended a ban admitted there was no scientific evidence of a causal link.

    A ban was rushed through by parliament before the General Election.

    The newly recorded substances would have the same effects as Spice and meow-meow, but with very small modifications to their make-up, according to the BBC.

    The report by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction said legal highs were a 'growing challenge' in the EU.

    In 2008 there were 13 new compounds found by the drugs body, just over half the total haul discovered this year.

    April 23, 2010
    Metro
    http://www.metro.co.uk/news/823056-alarm-as-24-new-legal-highs-are-uncovered
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