TL neuro

May 6, 2015

Methylone is replacing MDMA in Forensic Laboratory samples

Filed under: alpha-PVP, Cathinones, MDMA, MDPV, Methamphetamine, Methylone — mtaffe @ 10:38 am

The National Forensic Laboratory Information System (NFLIS) is, according to the Introduction to the 2014 Mid-year report [PDF]:

a program of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Office of Diversion Control NFLIS systematically collects results from drug analyses conducted by State and local forensic laboratories These laboratories analyze controlled and noncontrolled substances secured in law enforcement operations across the country, making NFLIS an important resource for monitoring illicit drug use

I was curious to see what this particular dataset had to say about the emergence of substituted cathinone stimulants such as mephedrone, methylone, MDPV and alpha-PVP. We work on the effects of these drugs and it is of interest to monitor the evolution of their use with various epidemiological measures. This is but one such measure and the relative penetration of a given drug may differ depending on whether the measure is from law enforcement, surveys of adolescents, online surveys, etc.

NFLIS-summaryThe NFLIS appears to have started systematically assessing several cathinone drugs in 2011. Either that or they were too infrequent to make the specific tables presented in the reports. These are relatively low incidence, you will note. For comparison, methamphetamine accounts for about 10% of reports and did not change much across 2010 to 2012 when MDMA reports dropped significantly. I would have predicted, before seeing these data, that the incidence of MDMA was still higher than these newer drugs. This figure shows that methylone is now more frequently reported in NFLIS samples than is MDMA. Methylone is probably the most MDMA-like of the cathinones in terms of structure (it is the direct cathinone cousin, 3,4-methylenedioxymethcathinone), neuropharmacology and subjective effects (to the extent this has been assessed).
The second surprise for me was seeing that MDPV and alpha-PVP are less commonly reported than methylone. I would have expected these drugs to have a higher representation, based on the emerging profile as traditional stimulants that support highly repetitive use.

h/t: Forensic Tox Guy

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