Sam Houston state developing lab test for bath salts

Sam Houston State University is developing a laboratory test to detect the use of bath salts, a new designer drug that was added to the list of illegal substances by the Drug Enforcement Administration in 2011.

Sam Houston State University received a federal grant from the National Institute of Justice to create a test for key components of in in crime labs.

Bath salts, also known as synthetic cathinones, were legally sold in convenience stores, head shops and on the Internet until being included on the list of through an emergency order by the Enforcement Administration in October 2011. These drugs, that are capable of producing powerful hallucinogenic and adrenergic effects, are routinely seized in drug cases around the Houston metropolitan area and throughout the nation.

"Bath salts are the new breed of designer amphetamines, and they pose a number of challenges for from a public safety and public health standpoint," said Sarah Kerrigan, Director of the Forensic Science Program at Sam Houston State University.

According to the , bath salts also have adverse effects including rapid which may lead to heart attacks and strokes, chest pains, nosebleeds, sweating, nausea, and vomiting. Those who abuse the substance also report agitation, insomnia, irritability, dizziness, depression, paranoia, delusions, suicidal thoughts, seizures, and panic attacks.

According to a 2011 report from the National Drug Intelligence Center, drug users are attracted to bath salts because they can evade most drug tests and, as a result, it may not be detected in impaired driving cases or death investigations.

"Analytical limitations for state and local forensic toxicology laboratories impact criminal and death investigation casework, and these deficiencies can have serious criminal justice consequences," Kerrigan said.

While bath salts are easy to detect in seized samples, such as pills, powders and capsules, once they are ingested, they pose a number of challenges in the toxicology lab. The Department of Forensic Science will develop a procedure to detect at least eight of the most common components found in bath salts in biological evidence. These components include mephedrone, flephedrone, methylone , butylone, ethylone, methedrone, MDPV, and naphyrone.

Many toxicology labs use gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC/MS) to identify drugs in biological evidence. The new study will target a wide variety of the new designer drugs using one procedure.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Researchers tackle designer drug craze

Jul 16, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- President Obama signed a bill into law this week designating certain chemicals found in designer drugs as FDA-controlled substances.

Bath salts emerging as new recreational drugs

Oct 24, 2011

The use of bath salts as recreational drugs has greatly escalated in recent years. Researchers from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma describe an incident of a man experiencing significant ...

White House warns of 'bath salt' stimulants

Feb 02, 2011

President Barack Obama's drug czar warned Americans Tuesday about the growing threat of designer drugs marketed as "bath salts" that are in fact dangerous amphetamine-type stimulants.

Recommended for you

Xtoro approved for swimmer's ear

Dec 18, 2014

(HealthDay)—Xtoro (finafloxacin otic suspension) eardrops have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat swimmer's ear, clinically known as acute otitis externa.

Drug interaction identified for ondansetron, tramadol

Dec 18, 2014

(HealthDay)—In the early postoperative period, ondansetron is associated with increased requirements for tramadol consumption, according to a review and meta-analysis published online Dec. 10 in Anaesthesia.

New system targets germs in donated blood plasma

Dec 17, 2014

(HealthDay)—A new system designed to eliminate germs in donated blood plasma and reduce the risk of transmitting a plasma-borne infection has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Judge halts Alzheimer's drug swap until July

Dec 16, 2014

A federal judge has ordered an Irish drug manufacturer to halt its plans to discontinue its widely used Alzheimer's medication, allegedly in an effort to drive patients to a newer patented drug.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.