New drugs entering Europe at 'unprecedented pace'

May 11, 2011

New drugs are flooding the European market at an "unprecedented pace", the European drug monitoring centre and Europol warned in a joint report released in Portugal on Wednesday.

"New psychoactive substances are becoming widely available at an unprecedented pace," The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and (EMCDDA) and the EU's law enforcement agency said.

They noted that last year they were officially notified of 49 new drugs, a record number for a single year, via the EU early-warning system (EWS) on new psychoactive substances, up from 24 in 2009 and 13 the previous year.

The new substances include synthetic cannabinoids, synthetic cathinones, synthetic derivatives of well-established drugs, as well as one plant-based substance.

Under the so-called 'Spice' phenomenon, 11 new synthetic were picked up in 2010, bringing the total number of these substances monitored by the EWS up to 27.

As a result, at least 16 have taken legal action to ban or otherwise control 'Spice' products and related compounds.

In December, the EU also decided to ban the sale of the synthetic cathinone derivative, mephedrone, but 15 synthetic cathinone derivatives were detected in 2010, the report said.

In view of the large number of new unregulated synthetic compounds marketed on the Internet as legal highs', the report also highlighted EMCDDA's monitoring of online shops selling these substances.

"While our has recently upped its operational capacity to react rapidly to new substances and products identified, it currently lacks the ability to anticipate emerging threats," EMCDDA Director Wolfgang Götz said.

This, he added, could be done "by actively purchasing, synthesising and studying new compounds and by improving our capacity for investigative forensic analysis and research at European level".

The report, released ahead of the first international forum on new drugs opening here Wednesday, also warned that organised crime groups are increasingly active in producing and distributing drugs associated with ecstasy.

Explore further: Physicians warned about counterfeit medical devices

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

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.

Designer drugs on the rise: INCB

Mar 02, 2011

Designer drugs, modified to get around tight controls, are being produced in growing numbers and at an ever-faster pace, drugs monitoring agency INCB warned in its annual report Wednesday.

Marijuana ingredients show promise in battling superbugs

Sep 08, 2008

Substances in marijuana show promise for fighting deadly drug-resistant bacterial infections, including so-called "superbugs," without causing the drug's mood-altering effects, scientists in Italy and the United Kingdom are ...

Australia: Ecstasy loses its shine

May 10, 2011

Ecstasy, one of the most popular "recreational" drugs in Australia over the past two decades, is becoming less popular with regular users, consistent with global trends, say the authors of a new report from ...

Britain bans 'legal high' drugs

Dec 23, 2009

Britain banned several drugs known as "legal highs" Wednesday amid mounting public concern about their health risks.

Many mephedrone alternatives just as risky, warn experts

Jul 06, 2010

Since the recent ban on mephedrone, many so-called "legal substitutes" available on the internet are in fact banned cathinones (chemically related to amphetamines) and just as risky, warn experts in a letter to this week's ...

Recommended for you

Physicians warned about counterfeit medical devices

21 minutes ago

(HealthDay)—Physicians should be aware of the prevalence and serious consequences associated with use of counterfeit medical devices, according to a letter to the editor published online July 20 in Lasers in ...

Zydelig approved for three types of blood cancer

53 minutes ago

(HealthDay)—Zydelig (idelalisib) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat relapsed forms of blood cancer, including chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), follicular B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (FL) ...

Journal raises concern about blood-thinning drug

14 hours ago

A medical journal raised concerns Wednesday about a blood-thinning drug widely used by people at risk of stroke, accusing its manufacturer of concealing safety data and regulators of laxness.

Supermaterial gives rejected drugs a new chance

Jul 22, 2014

More than 80 percent of all drug candidates in the pharma R&D suffer from poor solubility and are therefore rejected early in the drug discovery process. Now Uppsala University researchers show that the new ...

User comments : 0