Characterization of Designer Drugs

A new technical report recently made available by the NIJ takes a look at the characterization of designer drugs. The report, Characterization of Designer Drugs: Chemical Stability, Exposure, and Metabolite Identification, Final Summary Overview and Appendix, offers research that aimed to "gain a more thorough understanding of designer drugs with respect to their chemical exposure profiles and biological elimination pathways."

Written by Megan Grabenauer, Katherine N. Moore, and Brian F. Thomas, the report aimed to:

1) Determine the stability of currently popular designer drugs and identify major degradation products, including pyrolysis products;

2) Identify their major metabolites.

From the abstract:

Currently, little is known about the pharmacological and toxicological profiles of these products. The consequences of long-term usage have yet to be studied, and behavioral and metabolic studies have only been performed on a relatively limited number of compounds.

Most forensic laboratories are not equipped with the analytical research capabilities required to keep up with the rapid turnover of designer drugs being marketed for recreational use. Detection of these designer drugs remains a challenge because as bans on specific compounds go into effect, manufacturers substitute closely related analogs for the newly banned substances, creating a constantly moving analytical target.

By performing a thorough and systematic study looking at families of structurally related compounds, researchers are able to predict markers for broad classes of compounds and help practitioners keep up with designer drug manufacturers.

You can download the full PDF of the report here.

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