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J Reward Defic Syndr. 2015;1(2):82-86. Epub 2015 Aug 10.

Designer Drugs: A Synthetic Catastrophe.

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Division of Applied Clinical Research, Dominion Diagnostics, LLC, North Kingstown, RI, USA.
Division of Research and Development, Dominion Diagnostics, LLC, North Kingstown, RI, USA.
Department of Psychiatry and McKnight Brain Institute, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, FL, USA.


Synthetic stimulants can cause hallucinations, aggressive behaviors, death and are sometimes legal. These substances are sold as plant food and bath salts that are "Not for Human Consumption", therefore skirting the 1986 Federal Analogue Act and giving a false pretense of safety. Studies have proved that these substances are toxic, have a high abuse potential, and are becoming extremely prevalent in the United States. This creates a dilemma for law enforcement agents, hospitals, and substance use disorder treatment centers. Urine Drug Testing is utilized as a clinical diagnostic tool in substance use disorder treatment centers, and the furious pace at which new synthetic stimulants are introduced to the black market are making the detection via urine increasingly difficult. This article will discuss the prevalence, pharmacology and difficulty developing laboratory assays to detect synthetic stimulants.


Bath salts; Designer drugs; MDPV; Mephedrone; Methylone; α-PVP

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