Be aware that the label “bath salts” and “not for human consumption” are a gimmick to do an end-run on the unsuspecting eye of the law. Buyers of “bath salts” may be ingesting the compounds to get high. If your child has packages of “bath salts” they may not be for taking a soothing bath, but may be injesting them to get high.

Synthetic stimulants are chemically produced substances that affect the central nervous system. Stimulants include drugs such as amphetamine (including methamphetamine), cocaine, and Ecstasy (MDMA, or 3, 4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine). The synthetic forms of stimulants can be administered through oral ingestion, inhalation, or injection. [Page 6, Synthetic Drugs: Overview and Issues for Congress.]

Do you know kidney failure is a side effect of ingesting synthetic drugs including synthetic marijuana?

Last week Katrina wrote and posted Kidney Failure a Common Result from Ingesting Synthetic Marijuana, about synthetic marijuana and the compounds that go into its creation. Her blog post is about how these compounds are being regulated by the U.S. Congress. It got me thinking about whether melamine, the same compound Chinese milk producers used to do an end-run on government regulators was in the list. I was curious because over 300,000 Chinese infants and children suffered some form of kidney failure after ingesting locally produced milk laced with melamine, a chemical used in making plastics. And kidney failure is what emergency rooms are seeing with those ingesting synthetic marijuana. I was not able to determine if these designer drugs are similar to melamine, but I was able to find some useful information to parents, spouses and friends of those using. But first this just across the wire.

2 East High students hospitalized after smoking synthetic marijuana, Des Moines Register, Reporter Joel Aschbrenner

What are synthetic drugs?

Synthetic drugs are chemically laced substances akin to marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine that are sold over the counter at convenience stores, gas stations and tobacco shops. Based on their chemical make-up, these drugs are commonly divided into two categories:

  1. Cannabinoids, popularly known as K2 or Spice, cannabinoids are chemically formulated versions of synthetic marijuana that consist of lab-manufactured THC.
  2. And Cathinones, often known as “bath salts,” cathinones contain chemical compounds that mimic the effects of cocaine or meth.

Synthetic marijuana - FDA regulatory oversight of the manufacturing process. These products consist of plant material that has been laced with substances (synthetic cannabinoids) that claim to mimic THC, the primary psychoactive active ingredient in marijuana, and are marketed toward young people as a “legal” high.

Does the FDA regulate synthetic drugs?

On March 1, 2011, the DEA used its temporary scheduling authority and issued a final rule to place five synthetic cannabinoids on the list of controlled substances under Schedule I of the CSA.

 The five substances are

  • • 1-pentyl-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole (JWH-018);
  • • 1-butyl-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole (JWH-073);
  • • 1-[2-(4-morpholinyl)ethyl]-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole (JWH-200);
  • • 5-(1,1-dimethylheptyl)-2-[(1R,3S)-3-hydroxycyclohexyl]-phenol (CP-47,497); and
  • • 5-(1,1-dimethyloctyl)-2-[(1R,3S)-3-hydroxycyclohexyl]-phenol
  • (cannabicyclohexanol; CP-47,497 C8 homologue).

In recent cases people who used this synthetic marijuana had in some way ingested similar compounds. Blood and urine tests performed on those suffering kidney failure showed XLR-11, the formal name for this new synthetic marijuana. Parents and spouses should be aware there are other names aside those Katrina listed. They include Vanilla Sky and “bath salts”. Does the bath salts reference sound familiar? Who was the well known actress in recent news needing a 9-1-1 call?

These compounds are called 2C Substances.

“The term synthetic marijuana refers to a mixture of legal herbs and spices sprayed with compounds similar to the psychoactive constituents in marijuana. Termed cannabimimetic agents in the new law, these chemicals are also called synthetic cannabinoids.

Faux pot, labeled “not for human consumption,” has been sold in retail shops and over the Internet as incense under names such as K2 or Spice, DEA says. The agency in late 2010 used its emergency authority to add a handful of cannabimimetic compounds temporarily to Schedule I.”

Have Iowans been affected by synthetic drugs?

Iowa is one place where these synthetics have caused a stir. According to news sources David Rozga, formerly of Indianola, Iowa killed himself a few summers ago after “getting high on a marijuana look-alike product called K2. After taking the drug, he told a friend “that he felt like he was in hell,” said his father, Mike Rozga.” AP story, Synthetic drugs sent thousands to ER.

What is Congress doing to regulate synthetic drugs?

So what’s being done to protect people from foolish or immature decisions? Congress passed a law restricting the use of what is commonly referred to as designer drugs and the compounds used to manufacture them. The list includes the follow:

The Synthetic Drug Control Act of 2011 (H.R. 1254) and its companion bill, the Dangerous Synthetic Drug Control Act of 2011 (also known as the David Mitchell Rozga Act, S. 605) would add cannabimimetic substances—synthetic substances that mimic cannabis or marijuana—to the list of Schedule I substances under the CSA. Specifically, these bills would also add to

Schedule I: 

• 5-(1,1-dimethylheptyl)-2-[(1R,3S)-3-hydroxycyclohexyl]-phenol (CP-47,497);

• 5-(1,1-dimethyloctyl)-2-[(1R,3S)-3-hydroxycyclohexyl]-phenol

(cannabicyclohexanol or CP-47,497 C8-homolog);

• 1-pentyl-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole (JWH-018 and AM678);

• 1-butyl-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole (JWH-073);

• 1-hexyl-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole (JWH-019);

• 1-[2-(4-morpholinyl)ethyl]-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole (JWH-200);

• 1-pentyl-3-(2-methoxyphenylacetyl)indole (JWH-250);

• 1-pentyl-3-[1-(4-methoxynaphthoyl)]indole (JWH-081);

• 1-pentyl-3-(4-methyl-1-naphthoyl)indole (JWH-122);

• 1-pentyl-3-(4-chloro-1-naphthoyl)indole (JWH-398);

• 1-(5-fluoropentyl)-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole (AM2201);

• 1-(5-fluoropentyl)-3-(2-iodobenzoyl)indole (AM694);

• 1-pentyl-3-[(4-methoxy-benzoyl]indole (SR-19 and RCS-4);

• 1-cyclohexylethyl-3-(2-methoxyphenylacetyl)indole (SR-18 and RCS-8); and

• 1-pentyl-3-(2-chlorophenylacetyl)indole (JWH-203).

In addition to the cannabimimetic substances, the Synthetic Drug Control Act of 2011 (H.R.

1254) would also place the following synthetic stimulants under Schedule I:

• 4-methylmethcathinone (mephedrone);

• 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV);

• 3,4-methylenedioxymethcathinone (methylone);

• Naphthylpyrovalerone (naphyrone);

• 4-fluoromethcathinone (flephedrone);

• 4-methoxymethcathinone (methedrone; Bk-PMMA);

• Ethcathinone;

• 3,4-methylenedioxyethcathinone (ethylone);

• Beta-keto-N-methyl-3,4-benzodioxyolybutanamine (butylone);

• N,N-dimethylcathinone (metamfepramone);

• Alpha-pyrrolidinopropiophenone (alpha-PPP);

• 4-methoxy-alpha-pyrrolidinopropiophenone (MOPPP);

• 3,4-methylenedioxy-alpha-pyrrolidinopropiophenone (MDPPP);

• Alpha-pyrrolidinovalerophenone (alpha-PVP); and

• 6,7-dihydro-5H-indeno(5,6-d)-1,3-dioxal-6-amine) (MDAI).

The Combating Designer Drugs Act of 2011 (S. 839) would add a number of hallucinogenic

drugs to Schedule 1 of the CSA:

• 2-(2,5-Dimethoxy-4-ethylphenyl)ethanamine (2C-E);

• 2-(2,5-Dimethoxy-4-methylphenyl)ethanamine (2C-D);

• 2-(4-Chloro-2,5-dimethoxyphenyl)ethanamine (2C-C);

• 2-(4-Iodo-2,5-dimethoxyphenyl)ethanamine (2C-I);

• 2-[4-(Ethylthio)-2,5-dimethoxyphenyl]ethanamine (2C-T-2);

• 2-[4-(Isopropylthio)-2,5-dimethoxyphenyl]ethanamine (2C-T-4);

• 2-(2,5-Dimethoxyphenyl)ethanamine (2C-H);

• 2-(2,5-Dimethoxy-4-nitro-phenyl)ethanamine (2C-N); and

• 2-(2,5-Dimethoxy-4-(n)-propylphenyl)ethanamine (2C-P).

Penalties as descbribed in the Congressional Research Report.

Implications of Scheduling

The scheduling of controlled substances has implications for the would-be violators of the CSA, as well as for the federal criminal justice system as a whole. Penalties for trafficking, manufacturing, and possession of Schedule I controlled substances range from fines to life in prison, depending on a number of factors pursuant to the crime. Factors considered in federal sentencing include, but are not limited to, the amount of drugs that is involved in the crime, the number of offenders, the type of drug, the number of prior offenses, and aggravating factors (e.g., death, weapons involved in the crime). For example, if Congress chose to place MDPV onto Schedule I of the CSA, anyone convicted of simple possession of this substance would be subject to a minimum fine of $1,000 and could be imprisoned for up to one year.

Of the inmates residing in federal prisons as of September 2011, and for whom offense data are known, more than half (101,929 or 50.4%) were serving sentences for federal drug offenses—including simple possession.

And of the 24,366 federal drug offenders known to have been sentenced for drug related offenses, 6,336 were sentenced for marijuana-related offenses and 4,309 were sentenced for methamphetamine-related offenses in 2010.

It is unknown whether or how the relative number of drug-specific offenders would change if certain synthetic cannabinoids and stimulants were added to Schedule I. 


Steve Lombardi
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Iowa personal injury, workers' compensation, motorcycle, quadriplegic, paraplegic, brain injury, death
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