Policies and Technologies Needed to Rein In "Designer" Drugs



May 8, 2012


Presentation slides (2.1 MB PDF)

Hijacking of Basic Research: The Case of Synthetic Cannabinoids (RTI Press report)

Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (406 kB PDF)


2012 Policy Forum Series


In recent years, public health and law enforcement officials have witnessed a dramatic and alarming increase in the abuse of synthetically produced cannabinoids and cathinones, also known as "spice" or "bath salts," respectively. Produced clandestinely, these compounds are pharmacologically very similar to controlled drugs, yet until recently, they were legal to sell or use in the United States. State and local forensic laboratories see a rising trend in the incidence of these designer drugs, and the American Association of Poison Control Centers reports the number of spice drug-related calls to poison centers doubled from 2010 to 2011. As the use of designer drugs proliferates and new products hit the streets, the challenge remains to detect and identify these substances, assess the risk, and where necessary, implement control measures. At this forum, a group of leading scientists and policy experts will discuss the policies and technologies needed to address this growing problem in our society.

Jenny Wiley, PhD, Senior Fellow in Behavioral Pharmacology, RTI International

Michael H. Baumann, PhD, Staff Scientist, Intramural Research Program, National Institute on Drug Abuse
Patrick Beardsley, PhD, Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Virginia Commonwealth University
Scott Novak, PhD, Senior Developmental Epidemiologist, RTI International
Brian Thomas, PhD, Senior Director, Analytical Chemistry and Pharmaceutics, RTI International