News

In this section we will periodically upload documents related to drugs and harm reduction, reports about our activity, alerts detected by our International Drug Testing Service, adulterants in drugs… If you want to suggest us any subject to publish, or if you want to collaborate with us sending your own texts, please e-mail us.

 

Ecstasy and MDMA aldulterated with N-Ethyl-Pentylone. A brief report

Posted by on May 27, 2018 in News | 0 comments

Ecstasy and MDMA aldulterated with N-Ethyl-Pentylone. A brief report

This is a brief report by DoctorX and his Chemical Brothers and Sisters covering available information about risks of N Ethyl-Pentylone, a novel and dangerous NPS recently detected as adulterant of MDMA pills and powders.

Last month our Drug Checking Service detected two different pills offered as MDMA but contained the cathinone derivative N-Ethyl-Pentylone instead. Both pills were detected in Balearic Islands:

Pills are shield-shaped, divisible x2, with a horse logo (Ferrari). Colour is white in one case, yellow in the other. Recently, N-Ethyl-Pentylone has been also detected in Balearic Islands sold as MDMA powder.

In this brief report we present:

1.- Avaible information about N-Ethyl-Pentylone

N-Ethyl-Pentylone (ephylone, bk-EBDP) is a substituted cathinone and stimulant drug. It is chemically related to methylone and butylone.

First reports about availability and personal experiences of psychonauts with N-Ethyl-Pentylone appear in forums as bluelight.org or drugs-forum.com by mid-2015. Users refer potent stimulant effects with low dosages.. There are no available animal or human experiments using N-Ethyl Pentylone.

Both in Europe and US, its presence in recreational market, was first reported in 2016 (1,2). The same year, Slovenia communicated the first death linked to this substance(2).

In the last two years, there have been several reports of severe toxicity and death related to N-Ethyl Pentylone in South Africa (3), United States (4,5), United Kingdom (6) and New Zealand (7). Mass-casualty or high toxicity incidents related with unintended use of N-Ethyl Pentylone offered as MDMA are common in these reports.

The largest serie of cases involves 26 severe toxicity or death cases (5), collected in a 1 year period in United States. Nevertheless, causes of death included not only intoxication with N-Ethyl-Pentylone, but also suicide, polyintoxications, gunshot wounds, and traffic accidents. In any case, harm potential of this substance appears to be higher than other common recreational drugs. One possible cause for this is the high potency per weight of BK-EBDP. Similarly to MDPV, the fact that a normal dose of the substance is significantly lower than the substance it is being sold as (BK-EBDP sold as MDMA), it is possible that users are ingesting high doses of BK-EBDP thinking it is MDMA, and as a consequence experiencing severe adverse effects.

N-Ethyl-Pentylone reaction to Marquis test is a yellow color. This allows to distinguish it from MDMA or other substances. Interpretation is limited in the case of a sample containing a mixture of different substances.

2.- Presence in Drug Market and trends of N-Ethyl-Pentylone

2.1.- Internacional drug checking service (EC-INTERNATIONAL)

Our database shows these results for N-Ethyl-Pentylone, in the period June 2014- Feb 2018.

4 samples (3 in 2016, 1 in 2017) have been submitted for drug checking as “N Ethyl-Pentylone”. In all 4 (100%) this substance was detected with no other adulterants. All samples came in powder/crystal form and were probably purchased as NPS.

In 16 additional samples a test result of N-Ethyl-Pentylone was found, although were acquired as other substance (or had an unknown composition, as refered by the user). Data available are shown in Figures 1,2 and Table 1

We have not detected any mixtures of N-Ethyl Pentylone with other substances, and no other pill containing this drug.

2.2.- Others sources

Available data from Ecstasydata.org (US)  refer 32 samples containing N-Ethyl-Pentylone (March 2016-Apr 2018). Most of them are presented in powder/crystal/dust and were sold as MDMA. There are 6 pills that contained N-Ethyl-Pentylone, generally in combination with other substances. All have been detected in United States.

We have found a pill with shape and logo very similar to the one tested by us. This was found in Vienna (Austria) and tested by Check-it in April 2017, but revealed MDMA as unique active principle.

Information provided by The Loop show that that N-ethyl Pentylone is being sold as MDMA, as it was present in 6 samples in which the user expected MDMA.

We have not been able to find any pill with this characteristics in the 6 most popular cryptomarkets from Deep Web.

3.- Conclusions:

  • It is noticeable the short period between first communications and detection on N-Ethyl-Pentylone in the market and the appearance of series of severe intoxications. Unintended use of this substance mislabelled as MDMA is the most probable factor involved.
  • In order to offer a “harm reduction advice” about a drug, it is mandatory to know its harms from a scientific point of view. In case of N Ethyl-Pentylone there is no information available, so the best advice is to refrain its use.
  • The unique answer to NPS (New Psychoactive Substances) has been fiscalizing substances. The prohibition of a molecule is immediately followed by the appearance in the market of a different derivative, in general more dangerous than the previous one. There are many examples of this situation and Drug Policy makers should evaluate the lack of efficacy and counter-effects of this “cat and mouse” game.
  • Available data has been collected by Harm Reduction Programmes for recreational users. They are playing a key role, not only in monitoring the market, but also in advise users and warn of potential high toxic substances, as in this case. This role has to be recognized, improved and properly financed by Public Authorities.

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References:

1. U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration. (2016) National Forensic Laboratory Identification System 2016 Annual Report.

2. European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. (2016) EMCDDA. Europol 2016 Annual Report on the implementation of Council Decision 2005/387/JHA.

3. No antidote yet for killer drug’s special ingredient (News24.c0m) Access 22/5/18

4. Thirakul P, Hair L, Bergen K, Pearson J; Clinical Presentation, Autopsy Results and Toxicology Findings in an Acute N-Ethylpentylone Fatality, Journal of Analytical Toxicology 2017, 41 342-6

5. Alex J Krotulski, Donna M Papsun, Bruno S De Martinis, Amanda L A Mohr, Barry K Logan; N-Ethyl Pentylone (Ephylone) Intoxications: Quantitative Confirmation and Metabolite Identification in Authentic Human Biological Specimens, Journal of Analytical Toxicology, https://doi.org/10.1093/jat/bky025

6. http://www.abc.net.au/triplej/programs/hack/how-pill-testing-works-in-the-united-kingdom/9146380

7. http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/health/2018/03/police-concerned-by-emergence-of-new-drug-n-ethylpentylone-sold-as-ecstasy.html

First EC International Report: Heroin adulterated with fentanyl derivatives in cryptomarkets

Posted by on Apr 26, 2018 in News | Comments Off on First EC International Report: Heroin adulterated with fentanyl derivatives in cryptomarkets

First EC International Report: Heroin adulterated with fentanyl derivatives in cryptomarkets

This is the first of a series of periodic reports that will analyse and discuss the results of our Energy Control-International Drug Checking Service. This report is focused on the problem of heroin adulterated with fentanyl and fentanyl derivatives.

Drug checking services are useful tools for reducing drug-related incidents, monitoring new substances or patterns of use, and providing information and assessment to drug users. Energy Control (ABD) has offered a drug checking service since 1999 in Spain, as part of an integrated harm reduction service for recreational drug users, and since April 2014 in a worldwide, international setting.

Opiates, particularly heroin, represent a significant proportion of drug-induced health problems in the world. Fentanyl is a very potent synthetic opioid, health problems associated with it are particularly frequent and relevant. The rapid appearance of novel fentanyl analogues that have not been approved for medical use, in the context of New Psychoactive Substances markets, exacerbates the problem even more. This is particularly relevant in United States and Canada, with exponential rise of overdoses and deaths in the last 3 years.

Motivations for the use of cryptomarkets as a source of illegal drugs include perception of safety, expected higher purity of substances and reduced risk for frauds and adulteration. Nevertheless, according to our data, heroin is a noticeable exception. Purity of heroin samples purchased in cryptomarkets has a wide variability. In this report we show the presence of different fentanyl derivatives in samples being sold as heroin in cryptomarkets during a 4 year period. This suggests that this is not an anecdotal, punctual finding.

We think this situation can potentially lead to severe Public Health problems. Fentanyl has an extremely narrow safety limit, and this is more dangerous for many fentanyl derivatives with similar or higher potency and limited or non-existing experience in humans. Heroin purity in tested samples is highly variable, which involves significant risks of overdosage. The addition of fentanyl or fentanyl derivatives even in small dosages, increases this risk dramatically.

Energy Control International is concerned about this problem. As a harm reduction service, our aim is to contribute to protecting drug users’ health. And since the unintended use of fentanyl derivatives purchased as heroin involves serious risks, a series of actions are being implemented in order to warn users, facilitate testing of suspicious samples and monitor this phenomenon.

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Licencia de Creative Commons ENERGY CONTROL INTERNATIONAL TECHNICAL REPORTS 001.- APRIL 2018. FENTANYL AND FENTANYL DERIVATIVES(1): ADULTERATED HEROIN SAMPLES FROM CRYPTOMARKETS by DOCTOR X AND HIS CHEMICAL BROTHERS AND SISTERS is licensed under a Creative Commons Reconocimiento-NoComercial 4.0 Internacional License. Creado a partir de la obra en https://energycontrol-international.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/ECINT001_Heroin_Adult_CRYPTMK.pdf

Identifcation and characterization of the new opioid derivative 3,4-dichloro-N-(2-(diethylamino)cyclohexyl)-N-methylbenzamide (U-49900)

Posted by on Nov 17, 2017 in News | 0 comments

Identifcation and characterization of the new opioid derivative 3,4-dichloro-N-(2-(diethylamino)cyclohexyl)-N-methylbenzamide (U-49900)

This article focuses on the repercussions of scheduling NPS as they emerge on the “legal” market. Particularly U-49900, a synthetic opioid that is an analogue of U-47700 (which is itself an analog of an earlier now-banned opioid: AH-7921) It seems that demand for novel opioids does not decrease when a compound is scheduled, and if the supply for a certain substance dwindles, users are bound to seek an alternative. While it is clear that a solution needs to be found, this article suggests that perhaps quickly and systematically scheduling new compounds as they gain popularity can be complemented with other prevention measures in response to the growing problem of NPS abuse.

 

Research

Identification and characterization of a putative new psychoactive substance, 2-(2-(4-chlorophenyl)acetamido)-3-methylbutanamide, in Spain

Posted by on Nov 6, 2017 in News | 0 comments

Identification and characterization of a putative new psychoactive substance, 2-(2-(4-chlorophenyl)acetamido)-3-methylbutanamide, in Spain

This article describes the identification and characterization of 2-(2-(4-chlorophenyl)acetamido)-3-methylbutanamide, a putative new psychoactive substance, through GC/MS, LC/MS, NMR, FTIR, UV, Single-crystal X-ray diffraction, and NMR.

 

Research

Something new about something old: a 10-year follow-up on classical and new psychoactive Tryptamines and results of analysis

Posted by on Nov 2, 2017 in News | 0 comments

Something new about something old: a 10-year follow-up on classical and new psychoactive Tryptamines and results of analysis

This article explores the presence of tryptamines classified as NPS among the substances delivered for analysis to a harm-reduction organization, to describe the substances found in the samples after analysis, and to compare analytical results of regulated vs. non-regulated tryptamines. It argues that there is a need for further research in order to prevent the potential health risks associated with their use.

Research

Patterns of use and toxicity of new para-halogenated substituted cathinones: 4-CMC (clephedrone), 4-CEC (4-chloroethcatinone) and 4-BMC (brephedrone)

Posted by on Oct 30, 2017 in News | 0 comments

Patterns of use and toxicity of new para-halogenated substituted cathinones: 4-CMC (clephedrone), 4-CEC (4-chloroethcatinone) and 4-BMC (brephedrone)

This article presents results of the analysis of 3 NPS: clephedrone (4-CMC), 4-chloroethcathinone (4-CEC), and brephedrone (4-BMC) on recreational drug markets and a systematic review of all the available information concerning these substances. It presents the possibility that the emergence of these substances is the next step in the cat-and-mouse game existing between drug producers and legislation.

Research

The detection and prevention of unintentional consumption of DOx and 25x-NBOMe at Portugal’s Boom Festival

Posted by on Oct 25, 2017 in News | 0 comments

This article describes the misrepresentation of LSD at Portugal’s Boom Festival 2014 and the prevention of unintentional consumption of DOx and 25x-NBOMe among LSD consumers attending a drug-checking service. We found that the majority of service users who received unexpected test results regarding their alleged LSD (74.2%) reported that they did not intend to consume the drug.

Research

The utility of drug checking services

Posted by on Oct 19, 2017 in News | 0 comments

The utility of drug checking services

The utility of drug checking services as monitoring tools and more: A response to Pirona et al. is a response to the article titled New psychoactive substances: Current health-related practices and challenges in responding to use and harms in Europe by Pirona et al. It argues that although it’s important to recognise the limitations of self-evaluation of drug checking services conducted in a constrained funding environment, we believe that a more balanced view of these services could better inform readers of the International Journal of Drug Policy.

Research

Our International Drug Testing Service detects a dangerous mixture from Australia

Posted by on Feb 4, 2017 in News | 0 comments

After several deaths, poisonings and severe intoxications in several Melbourne (Australia) clubs in 15-17 January, we have received a sample of capsules sold as MDMA from Australia, related to these health problems.

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Energy Control National Drug Testing Service Report 2015

Posted by on Jan 17, 2017 in News | 0 comments

Energy Control National Drug Testing Service Report 2015

This report presents the synthetic substances, tested by Energy Control’s National Drug Checking Service, their adulteration and the users’ profile. This report summarizes results from Spain during 2015, and collects no data from our International Drug Testing Service

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