“Bath salts” compounds restricted

Citing an “imminent hazard to the public safety”, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) filed notice last week to temporarily schedule 10 synthetic cathinones.

The substances are similar to some already listed as Schedule I or II drugs in the U.S., and are components of synthetic designer drugs such as bath salts. Synthetic cathinones are related to the Schedule I drug cathinone, a psychoactive component of khat. Schedule I drugs have no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Synthetic cathinones also can have similar effects to Schedule II drugs such as amphetamine and MDMA. Side effects include euphoria, increased alertness, and energy, while negative side effects include tremors, vomiting, fever and chest pain. More severe effects include tachycardia (racing heart), hyperthermia (overheating), paranoia, violent behavior, hallucinations and even death.

The 10 compounds include  4-methyl-N-ethylcathinone (“4-MEC”); 4-methyl-alpha-pyrrolidinopropiophenone (“4-MePPP”); alpha-pyrrolidinopentiophenone (“[alpha]-PVP”); 1-(1,3-benzodioxol-5-yl)-2-(methylamino)butan-1-one (“butylone”); 2-(methylamino)-1-phenylpentan-1-one (“pentedrone”); 1-(1,3-benzodioxol-5-yl)-2-(methylamino)pentan-1-one (“pentylone”); 4-fluoro-N-methylcathinone (“4-FMC”); 3-fluoro-N-methylcathinone (“3-FMC”); 1-(naphthalen-2-yl)-2-(pyrrolidin-1-yl)pentan-1-one (“naphyrone”); and alpha-pyrrolidinobutiophenone (“[alpha]-PBP”).

The substances may remain classified as Schedule I for two years while the process to permanently schedule them is completed, according to the notice. A final order will not be effective prior to Feb. 27.

In recent years, synthetic versions of the drug, such as bath salts, have become more popular. From January 2010 to last November, the National Forensic Laboratory Information System registered 8,807 reports regarding synthetic cathinones. In 2010, the American Association of Poison Control Centers took 306 calls pertaining to bath salts – by 2011, that number had jumped to 6,137. The number has decreased, however, to 2,691 in 2012 and 994 in 2013.

Last month, the DEA also temporarily scheduled four compounds known to be used in synthetic cannabinoids, or fake marijuana.

Comments are closed.