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Experts needed for hundreds of new recreational drugs and synthetic stimulants

Posted Feb 16 2012 3:42am

Hundreds of new drugs have appeared on the recreational scene, although some of them such as GHB and ketamine have more traditional medical uses. These are often combined with new psychoactive substances and so the effects and / or side-effects are often simply unknown.

A new report published by clinical psychiatrists in the British Medical Journal states that: "These new drugs vary from synthetic compounds (such as 4-methylmethcathinone, or mephedrone) to traditional herbal products (such as salvia divinorum and kratom). The synthetic compounds are often designed and promoted to avoid contravening drug, medicine, and consumer protection laws. Although mephedrone... and various other synthetic compounds (including several cannabinoids) were classified in the United Kingdom as class B drugs in April 2010, many other new substances with psychoactive potential remain legally available. Rapid changes in legislation, combined with diverse branding and poor quality control, have led to a marked variation in the composition of these products, making it difficult for users and clinicians to identify exactly what is being consumed."

The new synthetic stimulants may need specialists to manage complex withdrawal or specific harms according to authors Dr Adam Winstock and Dr Luke Mitcheson. The use of new drugs, including ketamine, γ-hydroxybutyrate (GHB), and a range of synthetic stimulants in combination with other substances (especially alcohol) is common and increases the associated health risks. These drugs are associated with non-specificHaving a general effect. risks of intoxicationA general term for a condition resulting from poisoning. and substance-specific toxicological harms.

In the circumstances, patients may need referral to specialist services rather than the GP to manage complex withdrawal or specific harms. If you feel you may be suffering from the effects of addiction or withdrawal you can arrange to talk to our Addiction Specialist, Dr Robert Lefever , by clicking here .

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