Dr. Barry K. Logan, NMS Labs National Director of Forensic and Toxicological Services, presents fascinating new data on how the identity of compounds available in the synthetic drug market place (cannabinoids and “bath salts”) has changed quarter by quarter since 2010. Compounds have come and gone largely to avoid attempts to schedule them, but some have emerged as major “chemicals of concern.” New compounds are now starting to appear, making obsolete even the latest changes in State and Federal laws designed to control this dangerous and rapidly growing market. Although the synthetic cannabinoid drugs have changed the most, the “Bath Salts/Plant Food” craze has recently developed momentum and is showing signs of expanding in scale and scope. After reviewing the trends in drug availability and their impact on forensic chemistry labs, the presentation considers the challenges faced by toxicology labs in monitoring synthetic drug use as the menu of substances popular among drug abusers has grown and diversified, and how technological advances are helping with that effort. The presentation concludes with the latest research reports on adverse effects of the use of these drugs and consideration of what we might expect through the rest of 2012.
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