Substance Abuse Experts to Discuss Challenges of Controlling 'Spice' Drugs

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A group of leading experts will gather at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., May 8, to discuss the policies and technologies needed to address the growing problem of synthetically produced cannabinoids and cathinones, also known as "spice" or "bath salts," respectively.

Produced clandestinely, spice drugs are pharmacologically similar to controlled drugs but, until recently, were legal to sell or use in the United States. Despite regulations, new products continue to hit the streets, causing a dramatic and alarming increase in the abuse of these designer drugs.

During the policy forum, titled "Policies and Technologies Needed to Rein In 'Designer' Drugs," a group of leading scientists and policy experts who represent public, private and academic communities will explore issues related to spice drugs, including difficulties detecting and identifying these substances and implementing control measures.

The event, to be held from 8:30 to 10 a.m., is being hosted by RTI International.

The speakers include Michael Baumann, Ph.D., staff scientist at the intramural research program, National Institute on Drug Abuse; Patrick Beardsley, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology and toxicology, Virginia Commonwealth University; Scott Novak, Ph.D., senior developmental epidemiologist, RTI International; and Brian Thomas, Ph.D., senior director, analytical chemistry and pharmaceutics, RTI International.

Jenny Wiley, Ph.D., senior fellow in behavioral pharmacology at RTI International, will moderate the program.

The event is the fourth forum of a seminar series that is exploring a variety of pressing public policy challenges facing our society.

For those who can't attend the event in person, follow #RTISPICEDRUGS on Twitter.


  • RTI International will host a policy forum titled "Policies and Technologies Needed to Rein In 'Designer' Drugs"
  • Experts will discuss issues related to identifying and controlling synthetically-produced drugs
  • The event will take place at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on May 8