Increases in use of novel synthetic stimulant are not directly linked to decreased use of 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine (MDMA)

Chang Chen, Chris Kostakis, Rodney Irvine, Jason White

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    39 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    A decline in 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine (MDMA) use in Adelaide, Australia from 2009 to 2010 was confirmed by us previously. Reports suggested that the shortage in MDMA supply was associated with an increased prevalence of other synthetic stimulants, but quantitative measurements were unavailable. To obtain objective data on the community use of synthetic stimulants, we collected wastewater samples from multiple treatment plants in Adelaide, Australia from 2009 to 2011 and analysed them using solid-phase extraction/liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (SPE-LC-MS/MS), targeting MDMA and some of the most reported synthetic cathinones and piperazines. Data were temporally compared. MDMA and six other synthetic stimulants were detected and quantified in wastewater samples. While MDMA level decreased markedly from 2009 to 2010 and remained low in 2011, localized increased use of mephedrone, methylone, methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), benzylpiperazine (BZP), 3-trifluoromethylphenylpiperazine (TFMPP), but not methcathinone, was observed in 2010 and 2011. This suggested that the decline in MDMA use was associated with an increase in the use of a number of other synthetic stimulants. However, the lag time from the decrease in MDMA to the increase in use of a number of these stimulants, together with the highly regionalized use of all synthetic stimulants except methcathinone indicates that there was no direct population wide substitution in response to the reduction in MDMA.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)278-283
    Number of pages6
    JournalForensic Science International
    Volume231
    Issue number1-3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 10 Sep 2013

    Keywords

    • MDMA
    • New psychoactive substance
    • Stability
    • Synthetic stimulant
    • Temporal comparison
    • Wastewater

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