Toxicology news roundup

U.K. reviews ketamine classification

Officials in the United Kingdom (U.K.) are reviewing whether ketamine should be upgraded from a class C drug to a class B drug, a move that would increase penalties for illegal possession.

Ketamine is an anesthetic used in veterinary and human medicine that often is used as a club drug. It […]

Tox Tuesday: Krokodil

A cheap heroin substitute from Russia that destroys flesh, turning it green and scaly, has been reported in the U.S.

The drug – called krokodil, which is Russian for crocodile –is well known in Russia and other former Soviet republics but hadn’t been known in the U.S. until recently. In September, doctors in Arizona treated […]

Counterfeit drugs concern officials

About one-tenth of the globe’s prescription drugs are counterfeit, according to estimates from the World Health Organization (WHO).

However, in certain developing countries that number jumps to almost 50 percent. Sales of counterfeit drugs are estimated to reach $75 billion annually.

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Tox Tuesday: Tramadol

A painkiller that has become more popular in recent years also is facing increasing restrictions.

Tramadol is used to alleviate moderate to severe pain. It is an opiate agonist, which works by altering the way the body senses pain, according to Medline Plus. It is similar to the painkiller codeine, and is used to treat […]

Tox Tuesday: Molly

Ecstasy pills, like the ones shown above, also contain MDMA.Courtesy of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

Despite its innocent sounding name, the party drug molly has gained notoriety in recent weeks in connection with several deaths.

Molly, the powder or crystal form of MDMA (the chemical in ecstasy), often is used at music festivals, […]

World watches after New Zealand passes landmark drug bill

Courtesy of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency

New Zealand officials hope a new law will help better regulate designer drugs.

The Psychoactive Substances Bill, which was passed last month, restricts the sale of drugs that don’t meet safety requirements while also prohibiting the sale of unregulated psychoactive substances until they’ve been approved. The bill […]

Tox Tuesday: Drugged driving

Although the problems caused by drunk driving are well known, its lesser-known cousin drugged driving also can have devastating consequences.

Drugged driving refers to operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs, including illegal substances and those prescribed by a doctor. Often, these drugs can cause impairment, such as reduced motor function, poor judgment and […]

Tox Tuesdays: PMA

Courtesy of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (via Wikimedia Commons)

Appearances can be deceiving when it comes to PMA.

Paramethoxyamphetamine (PMA) is a structural analog of ecstasy (MDMA) and often looks very similar to ecstasy. Unlike ecstasy, PMA isn’t necessarily sought out. Rather, some researchers believe many people who take PMA think it is […]

Tox Tuesday: Ketamine

Growing more popular among teens and young adults at dance clubs, ketamine usage has risen in recent years.

Ketamine is considered a club drug, and is a dissociative anesthetic, meaning it gives users the sensation of being detached from their surroundings and pain. Ketamine causes hallucinations or delirium (and sometimes, flashbacks many weeks after taking […]

Study: “Bath salts” may be more addictive than meth

Image courtesy of the U.S. DEA.

A synthetic drug commonly known as bath salts may be more addictive than methamphetamine, which is widely regarded as being one of the world’s most addictive substances.

The study showed rats who could get doses of bath salts (technically 3,4-methylenedioypyrovalerone, or MDPV) by pressing a lever would press […]