The unfortunate grandfather of the modern day push for synthetic cathinones products in the United States all started with legitimate scientific research and publishing by Dr. David E. Nichols, PhD of Purdue University in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology. In the top tier publication Nature, he has lamented his legacy in “Legal highs: the darker side of medicinal chemistry.”
The bell cannot be un-rung.
The real difficulty lies not only in qualitatively identifying these drugs when they are seized (see An Update on Synthetic Cathinones and Synthetic Cannabinoids), but understanding the pharmacology of the consumption of these drugs (both the pharmacokinetics and the pharmacodynamics).
With many of these drugs there is very little study of their pharmacodynamic effect on the human being. At what point does impairment begin for most people? What about chronic users? How do we model the pharmacokinetics (absorption, distribution, metabolizing, and elimination) of these drugs?
There needs to be pig studies and more study to begin to understand all of this. It mostly seems now that we rely on antecodotal poision control center “experience,” and media hysteria.
Yet, we continue to prosecute folks for being impaired by these drugs in a DUI context. Where is the science in all of this?