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Unprecedented Synthetic Drug Growth Noted by UN

  1. Beenthere2Hippie
    WORLD - Synthetic drugs such as methamphetamines and so-called "legal highs" are undergoing an "unprecedented global expansion", the UN has warned. Nearly 350 new psychoactive substances (NPS) have been identified, the UN's Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said.Emergency services are struggling to treat users of the drugs, the office's latest World Drug Report warned. New methamphetamine supply routes and production centres in West Africa and Iran were also identified.

    The UN warned that the new NPS, or designer drugs, had gained popularity and were no longer restricted to niche markets. These drugs are not under any form of international controls and are often bought and sold online. They can often be as dangerous as more common drugs. Many legal highs are designed to mimic the effects of other drugs such as cannabis and ecstasy.

    The number of types of synthetic cannabinoids rose from around 60 in the middle of 2012 to 110 last year.

    New psychoactive substances
    • Synthetic substances that mimic effects of traditional drugs such as cannabis or cocaine
    • Number of known NPS rose from 166 in 2009 to 348 in 2013
    • Main NPS include mephedrone ("M-CAT" or "meow meow"), BZP, Spice, ketamine ("kit kat")
    • Many sold openly, including via the internet
    • Can be "far more dangerous than traditional drugs", UN says
    • Despite the increase in the number of different synthetic drugs and warnings about their dangers, no new psychoactive substances have been added to a list of internationally controlled substances since 2009.

    The report said that it was too early to tell whether efforts to ban some substances by individual countries had led to a decline in long-term use of the drugs.

    Treatment worries

    The report also warned that many users buy new psychoactive drugs believing that they are more common substances such as ecstasy. Users were also mixing different kinds of drug, making it more difficult to receive the correct treatment. The drugs themselves could also be tainted by other substances, causing further complications, the report warned.

    The UK became one of the only countries to ban a formerly "legal high" when it classified mephedrone as a class B drug in 2010.

    BBC, 5/20/14


    Newhawks Crew

    Author Bio

    BT2H is a retired news editor and writer from the NYC area who, for health reasons, retired to a southern US state early, and where BT2H continues to write and to post drug-related news to DF.


  1. tidruid
    "legal highs" are just the result of the failed war on drugs.
  2. 5-HT2A
    The level of growth is really overwhelming. I wonder how far things will go before something tangible is done to regulate the whole thing.

    Over time, I too find myself more concerned that a particular toxic drug that will be consumed by many people will do some major long-term damage to them if not kill them. Although some would say that the NBOMes have already achieved that. But if we were to do serious studies on all of the new substances becoming available, how many would turn out to be unacceptably toxic? Odds are at least a couple would.
  3. Basoodler
    Wow that is weird.....

    Where I live the most commonly used synthetic drug is probably alprazolam followed by a gaggle of prescribed opiates or sedatives then heroin,, cocaine, meth etc .hell, you could make a case for apap or ibuprofen being top dogs.. They may not be recreational but could be considered abused depending on how you define abuse. Because people consistently use them without being advised by a Dr. To do so, and at higher than reccomended dosages.

    Maybe I am confused? What does "synthetic" mean again.....??
  4. thirdeyelasik
    This is weird because in the US they have pretty much killed off this type of legal packaged high or at least where I live. Those in the know get everything pure online so I thought I was happy to see them go but now this article? Must be for all the other countries specifically.
  5. Lex_Talioniz
    Wholly man made. For instance opiates aren't synthetic, they require the opium poppy for their extraction. Cocaine requires the coca leaf whereas there are different methods of synthesising MDMA from different chemicals in the lab. There are no other known ways of synthesising morphine other than extraction.

    Heroin is usually classed as an opiate although it is not found in the poppy - Although I may have read that it has been but not in appreciable amounts. Someone may be able to clarify.

    Hyrdomorphone, oxymorphone, hydrocodone and oxcodone, to name some, are semi-synthetic derivatives of thebaine (found in the opium poppy and, more abundantly, in the chinese ornamental poppy.) although small amounts of oxyocodone were discovered in some plant or flower a while back but not in amounts worthwhile for use but enough to make it known that it can occur in nature. This is where the boundary between opiates and opioids occur. All chemicals that have activity on the opiate receptors are opioids but only naturally occuring alkaloids from the poppy are opiates. According to wikipedia hydrocodone, hydromorphine, oxycodone and oxymorphine are sometimes found in the poppy in trace amounts. From what it says there I can only conclude that heroin counts as an opiate merely because it is a morphine pro-drug (anybody chime in with corrections if applicable).

    Drugs like tramadol or fentanyl are wholly synthetic opioids.

    So ask yourself if it came from nature via extraction or was created in a laboratory from myriad chemicals.
  6. Basoodler
    Are you sure?

    Tramadol is not synthetic any more .. It is as organic as opium

    Several RC tryptamines .. If not the majority can be found in naturee. In fact one study found that novel tryptamines can be made naturally in mushrooms by saturating the substrate they grow on with other typtamines.

    Many beta-ketones, tryptamines, .. Hell research chemicals in general would fall into your definition of semi-synthetic. Meth comes from ephedrine alkaloids that can be extracted from plants. MDMA is from sassafrass. Several research chemicals are piperdine derivatives which can be extracted from plants.

    Beta-ketones too come from the plant khat. A couple new cannabinoids are based on valine which can be found in valerian

    And so on and so forth :p
  7. Beenthere2Hippie
    So, in a word, would you say that the BBC is hyping nonsense with this article or that the information is just surprising since normally the only country who speaks openly about the growing dangers of synthetic drug dealing is the U.S.? Or is your surprise due to something in between?
  8. Basoodler
    The info is apparently based on figures from a year or two ago I'd assume. I mean it would take a while to accumulate data, sort data, run the sorted data through various algorythms , format the processed data into a meaningful presentation and then let the experts decide what it means.. At least for tracking numbers like increases in use.

    The increase in new research chemicals is for real and current. The variation of types of drugs is probably level. I say that because a huge portion of new drugs are analogs of popular research chemicals that have already been banned..

    Actually the vast majority are analogs of MDPV, JWH-018, AB-pinaca and 25x-NBOMe. I would venture to guess that in the past six months there have been 50+ surface either in product or on the wholesale and personal use markets just from MDPV and the two cannabinoids..

    Because so many new chemicals are being synthesised all at once the danger involved in using these drugs increased astronomically.. And it wasn't safe to begin with. Synthetic cannabinoid mass poisonings, deaths and unpredictability is a glaring example of this.
  9. TheBigBadWolf

    for being clear:

  10. ZenobiaSky
    Record number of new synthetic drugs detected

    [IMGL=WHITE]https://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=38891&stc=1&d=1401244321[/IMGL] A record number of new synthetic drugs are being detected in Europe — but stretched agencies are unable to keep up with the dizzying array of substances because of budget cuts.

    The EU drugs agency said police and health bodies were also facing a “game changer”, with some chemicals capable of being trafficked in small packages but able to produce tens of thousands of doses.

    The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (Emcdda) said that 81 new psychoactive substances were detected by the EU Early Warning System in 2013.

    Scientific director Paul Griffiths said this was a “record number” and compared to 73 in 2012, 49 in 2011 and 41 in 2009.

    He said that a further 37 new substances had been detected so far this year.

    Although Ireland delivered a blow to the trade in many of these drugs — often known as legal highs — with legislation in 2010 effectively banning head shops, much of the trade has shifted online and onto the street. The Emcdda said 650 websites were selling these substances into Europe, compared with just 170 in 2010. The drugs were also being traded on so-called darknets, which are underground online networks permitting anonymous communication.

    Roumen Sedefov, head of the agency’s new drugs section, said users did not know what they were taking: “There is little knowledge about new drugs. Some of them are potentially very dangerous in terms of toxicity. There is no history of human use for many of them, no clinical studies and limited pharmacology.”

    He said there was particular concern about four new substances that they had analysed: 251-NBOMe (which mimics LSD); AH-7921 (which mimics heroin); MDPV (mimics cocaine); and methoxetamine (mimics ketamine).

    Between them they are associated in 135 deaths in Europe. Some are active at very low doses and the margin between recreational use and overdose is “very minimal”, said Mr Sedefov.

    Emcdda director Wolfgang Gotz said he was “particularly concerned” at these drugs, where a few grams could produce 10,000 doses. They can be imported into Europe in small packets making it very difficult to detect, he said.

    He said he was “deeply concerned” at the threat posed to the Early Warning System, and the “inadequate resources” given to both the Emcdda and national bodies to enable them to keep up with new drugs. “New psychoactive drugs are the most exploding area we have,” he said. “I don’t know how we can continue if we don’t get additional resources.”

    Mr Gotz, who is leaving his post after nine years, said European politicians were “not very interested” in this area, even though people rated drugs as an important issue.

    By Cormac O'Keeffe
    Irish Examiner Reporter
    Wednesday, May 28, 2014
    The Newhawks Crew
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