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Forensic Sci Int. 2014 Oct;243:23-9. doi: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2014.02.022. Epub 2014 Mar 6.

Detection of new psychoactive substance use among emergency room patients: results from the Swedish STRIDA project.

Author information

  • 1Karolinska Institutet, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Stockholm, Sweden; Karolinska University Laboratory, Clinical Pharmacology, Stockholm, Sweden. Electronic address: anders.helander@ki.se.
  • 2Swedish Poisons Information Centre, Stockholm, Sweden.
  • 3Karolinska Institutet, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Stockholm, Sweden.
  • 4Karolinska Institutet, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Stockholm, Sweden; Karolinska University Laboratory, Clinical Pharmacology, Stockholm, Sweden.

Abstract

The "STRIDA" project monitors the occurrence and trends of new psychoactive substances (NPS; "Internet drugs/designer drugs/legal highs") in Sweden, and collects information about their clinical symptoms, toxicity and associated health hazards. The initial results of the project documented a widespread use of many different NPS by mainly adolescents and young (age range 13-63 years, median 20), male (79%) adults, among cases of drug intoxications presenting at emergency departments and intensive care units across the country. The new substances were identified in samples of urine and blood by a multi-component LC-MS/MS method, and the severity of clinical symptoms were graded by the Poisoning Severity Score (PSS). Of the initial 189 samples submitted for laboratory investigation, 156 (83%) tested positive for at least one drug. Besides classical substances such as ethanol, cannabis and amphetamines, many NPS were detected comprising synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists ("Spice"), piperazines, substituted phenethylamines, synthetic cathinones, hallucinogenic tryptamines, piperidines, opioid related substances, ketamine and related substances, and GABA analogues (in total more than 50 substances). About half of the cases were demonstrated to be multiple drug intoxications, sometimes making it hard to associate the clinical presentations with one specific substance. In conclusion, the STRIDA project has documented use of a broad variety of NPS among mainly young people all over Sweden.

Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

KEYWORDS:

Cannabinoids; Cathinones; NPS; Phenethylamines; Spice; Substance use disorder/detection

PMID:
24726531
[PubMed - in process]
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