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Detecting 'bath salts' designer drug
Date:10/18/2011

HUNTSVILLE, TX -- In October 2011 the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and the Forensic Science Foundation (FSF) funded a capstone project proposal in the Master of Forensic Science Program at Sam Houston State University to investigate the designer drugs known as "Bath Salts" (beta-keto-amphetamines or BKAs).

Designer drugs have posed a challenge for law enforcement and forensic scientists for decades, but more recently the proliferation of analogs has overwhelmed the scientific community, in large part due to the internet. The majority of BKA designer drugs are derived from cathinone, the active ingredient of Khat (Catha edulis), a plant native to Africa and the Middle East. Synthesis of these drugs is readily accomplished by clandestine chemists, making it an appealing drug for the designer drugs market.

The study will specifically address a number of central nervous system stimulants that are capable of producing powerful and unpredictable adrenergic and hallucinogenic effects. Many of these drugs were considered "legal highs" until the Drug Enforcement Administration placed several of them in Schedule I of the Federal Controlled Substance Act in an emergency scheduling action earlier this year. These drugs were available locally in gas stations, head shops and online until September 1 of this year, when The State of Texas enacted legislation to ban these substances. At least 24 other states have outlawed them, or have legislation pending due to intense media interest and publicity.

In the SHSU study, at least six of the most popular "bath salt" drugs will be investigated in biological samples. These include mephedrone, methylone, ethylone, butylone, MDPV and naphyrone. Mephedrone is one of the most common BKAs. It has a reputation of having similar but superior effects to MDMA (3,4 -methylenedioxymethamphetamine or Ecstasy). Street names for mephedrone include MCAT, meow meow, MMC hammer, 4 MMC, bubbles, meph, rush, drone
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Contact: Beth Kuhles
kuhles@sbcglobal.net
936-294-4425
Sam Houston State University
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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