The COVID-19 pandemic has consistently raised the number of drug seizures, in United States as in Europe. The COVID-19 pandemic has also changed the typology of seizures from “more traditional” drugs to New Psychoactive Substances (NPSs), depending on geographical area. In Europe, the most frequent NPSs are synthetic cannabinoids (SCs) and cathinones, nonetheless synthetic opioids and phenethylamines are widely used. The aim of the study is the detection of NPS and other substances of abuse available in the black market, by quali/quantitative methods in LC-MS/MS and GC-MS. From 2018 to 2021, 268 seizures occurred in total and were analyzed by the Forensic Toxicology Laboratory (FTL) of Naples (Italy). The distribution of analyzed seizures over the years is the following: 53 in 2018, 61 in 2019, 89 in 2020 and 65 during the first semester of 2021. Cannabis was the most detected drug both in hashish and marijuana seizures, followed by cocaine > heroine > prescribed drugs > ketamine–amphetamine MDMA. No NPSs were seized until June 2021, when NPSs were found in two different seizures: Case #1 showed a bar of Cannabis resin containing a low level of D9THC = 0.57% associated to SC AB-FUBINACA in 4.5%; Case #2 showed a vegetal resinous substance (D9THC = 0.27%) with SC 5F-APINACA (4.1%) associated with methadone (1.0%). The detection of NPSs is alarming evidence that can lead to an increase in the risk of overdose or other negative and unpredictable consequences, such as violent or self-harming behavior in unaware users of cannabis derivatives considered of “natural” origin.

Toxicological Analysis of Illicit Drugs Seized in Naples (Italy) and First Detection of Synthetic Cannabinoids during COVID-19 Pandemic

Carfora A;Ambrosio G;Festinese S;Campobasso CP
2022

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic has consistently raised the number of drug seizures, in United States as in Europe. The COVID-19 pandemic has also changed the typology of seizures from “more traditional” drugs to New Psychoactive Substances (NPSs), depending on geographical area. In Europe, the most frequent NPSs are synthetic cannabinoids (SCs) and cathinones, nonetheless synthetic opioids and phenethylamines are widely used. The aim of the study is the detection of NPS and other substances of abuse available in the black market, by quali/quantitative methods in LC-MS/MS and GC-MS. From 2018 to 2021, 268 seizures occurred in total and were analyzed by the Forensic Toxicology Laboratory (FTL) of Naples (Italy). The distribution of analyzed seizures over the years is the following: 53 in 2018, 61 in 2019, 89 in 2020 and 65 during the first semester of 2021. Cannabis was the most detected drug both in hashish and marijuana seizures, followed by cocaine > heroine > prescribed drugs > ketamine–amphetamine MDMA. No NPSs were seized until June 2021, when NPSs were found in two different seizures: Case #1 showed a bar of Cannabis resin containing a low level of D9THC = 0.57% associated to SC AB-FUBINACA in 4.5%; Case #2 showed a vegetal resinous substance (D9THC = 0.27%) with SC 5F-APINACA (4.1%) associated with methadone (1.0%). The detection of NPSs is alarming evidence that can lead to an increase in the risk of overdose or other negative and unpredictable consequences, such as violent or self-harming behavior in unaware users of cannabis derivatives considered of “natural” origin.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11591/477548
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