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Scand J Clin Lab Invest. 2013 Aug;73(5):400-6. doi: 10.3109/00365513.2013.793817. Epub 2013 May 22.

Identification of novel psychoactive drug use in Sweden based on laboratory analysis--initial experiences from the STRIDA project.

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Department of Laboratory Medicine, Karolinska Institutet and Karolinska University Laboratory, Stockholm, Sweden.



The study aimed to collect information concerning the increasing use of new psychoactive substances, commonly sold through online shops as 'Internet drugs' or 'legal highs', or in terms of masked products such as 'bath salts' and 'plant food'.


The Karolinska Institutet and Karolinska University Laboratory and the Swedish Poisons Information Centre have initiated a project called 'STRIDA' aiming to monitor the occurrence and trends of new psychoactive substances in Sweden, and collect information about their clinical symptoms, toxicity and associated health risks. A liquid chromatographic-tandem mass spectrometric (LC-MS/MS) multi-component method has been developed, currently allowing for the determination of > 80 novel psychoactive compounds or metabolites thereof. This study focused mainly on the particular drug substances identified and the population demographics of the initial STRIDA cases.


In urine and/or blood samples obtained from 103 consecutive cases of admitted or suspected recreational drug intoxications in mostly young subjects (78% were ≤ 25 years, and 81% were males) presenting at emergency departments all over the country, psychoactive substances were detected in 82%. The substances comprised synthetic cannabinoids ('Spice'; JWH analogues), substituted cathinones ('bath salts'; e.g. butylone, MDPV and methylone) and tryptamines (4-HO-MET), plant-based substances (mitragynine and psilocin), as well as conventional drugs-of-abuse. In 44% of the cases, more than one new psychoactive substance, or a mixture of new and/or conventional drugs were detected.


The initial results of the STRIDA project have documented use of a broad variety of new psychoactive substances among mainly young people all over Sweden.

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