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Mephedrone (methylmethcathinone) in toxicology casework: a Northern Ireland perspective.

Abstract

Mephedrone (4-methylmethcathinone) is the beta-keto analogue of 4-methylmethylamphetamine. Before its control in April 2010, it became popular as a legal high in the United Kingdom, displacing methylenedioxymethylamphetamine as the stimulant drug of choice. The drug has stimulant and psychoactive properties, and therefore has forensic significance in criminal and morbid toxicology. The purpose of this study was to survey casework involving the drug (impaired driving and sudden death). The cases were received in the laboratory for analysis between late 2009 and the end of 2010. Analysis of blood samples for mephedrone was conducted by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS). Routine screening for alcohol and a range of other pharmaceuticals and drugs of abuse was conducted using a combination of enzyme-linked immunoassay, gas chromatography (GC) headspace, GC-MS and high-performance liquid chromatography with diode array detection. Mephedrone was detected in a total of 12 fatal cases. Most of these cases involved death by mechanical means; in two cases, death was attributed directly to mephedrone intoxication (blood concentrations of 2.1 and 1.94 mg/L). Mephedrone was detected in a total of 32 impaired driving cases. Blood concentrations ranged up to 0.74 mg/L (mean 0.21, median 0.10). The casework evidence in this study indicated that recreational use of the drug can produce to blood levels as high as 0.74 mg/L, although the most common value encountered is likely to lie between 0.2 and 0.3 mg/L.

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  • Authors+Show Affiliations

    ,

    Forensic Science Northern Ireland, 151 Belfast Rd., Carrickfergus BT38 8PL. Simon.cosbey@FSNI.x.gsi.gov.uk

    , ,

    Source

    Journal of analytical toxicology 37:2 2013 Mar pg 74-82

    MeSH

    Accidents, Traffic
    Adolescent
    Automobile Driving
    Chromatography, Gas
    Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
    Death, Sudden
    Designer Drugs
    Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
    Female
    Forensic Sciences
    Humans
    Male
    Methamphetamine
    Spectrometry, Mass, Electrospray Ionization
    Street Drugs
    Substance Abuse Detection
    Substance-Related Disorders
    Young Adult

    Pub Type(s)

    Case Reports
    Journal Article

    Language

    eng

    PubMed ID

    23354334

    Citation

    Cosbey, Simon H., et al. "Mephedrone (methylmethcathinone) in Toxicology Casework: a Northern Ireland Perspective." Journal of Analytical Toxicology, vol. 37, no. 2, 2013, pp. 74-82.
    Cosbey SH, Peters KL, Quinn A, et al. Mephedrone (methylmethcathinone) in toxicology casework: a Northern Ireland perspective. J Anal Toxicol. 2013;37(2):74-82.
    Cosbey, S. H., Peters, K. L., Quinn, A., & Bentley, A. (2013). Mephedrone (methylmethcathinone) in toxicology casework: a Northern Ireland perspective. Journal of Analytical Toxicology, 37(2), pp. 74-82. doi:10.1093/jat/bks094.
    Cosbey SH, et al. Mephedrone (methylmethcathinone) in Toxicology Casework: a Northern Ireland Perspective. J Anal Toxicol. 2013;37(2):74-82. PubMed PMID: 23354334.
    * Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
    TY - JOUR T1 - Mephedrone (methylmethcathinone) in toxicology casework: a Northern Ireland perspective. AU - Cosbey,Simon H, AU - Peters,K Laota, AU - Quinn,Amy, AU - Bentley,Alastair, Y1 - 2013/01/24/ PY - 2013/1/29/entrez PY - 2013/1/29/pubmed PY - 2013/7/24/medline SP - 74 EP - 82 JF - Journal of analytical toxicology JO - J Anal Toxicol VL - 37 IS - 2 N2 - Mephedrone (4-methylmethcathinone) is the beta-keto analogue of 4-methylmethylamphetamine. Before its control in April 2010, it became popular as a legal high in the United Kingdom, displacing methylenedioxymethylamphetamine as the stimulant drug of choice. The drug has stimulant and psychoactive properties, and therefore has forensic significance in criminal and morbid toxicology. The purpose of this study was to survey casework involving the drug (impaired driving and sudden death). The cases were received in the laboratory for analysis between late 2009 and the end of 2010. Analysis of blood samples for mephedrone was conducted by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS). Routine screening for alcohol and a range of other pharmaceuticals and drugs of abuse was conducted using a combination of enzyme-linked immunoassay, gas chromatography (GC) headspace, GC-MS and high-performance liquid chromatography with diode array detection. Mephedrone was detected in a total of 12 fatal cases. Most of these cases involved death by mechanical means; in two cases, death was attributed directly to mephedrone intoxication (blood concentrations of 2.1 and 1.94 mg/L). Mephedrone was detected in a total of 32 impaired driving cases. Blood concentrations ranged up to 0.74 mg/L (mean 0.21, median 0.10). The casework evidence in this study indicated that recreational use of the drug can produce to blood levels as high as 0.74 mg/L, although the most common value encountered is likely to lie between 0.2 and 0.3 mg/L. SN - 1945-2403 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/23354334/Mephedrone__methylmethcathinone__in_toxicology_casework:_a_Northern_Ireland_perspective_ L2 - https://academic.oup.com/jat/article-lookup/doi/10.1093/jat/bks094 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -