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An analysis of legal highs: do they contain what it says on the tin?

By Mark Baron, Mathieu Elie and Leonie Elie


In recent years the availability of so called legal highs over the internet has hugely increased. Numerous online legal high retailers market a broad variety of products\ud which are advertised as research chemicals, bath salts or plant food although clearly intended for human consumption as recreational drug replacements. No guidelines exist as to what is sold and in what purity. Consumers are led to believe that purchased goods are entirely legal.\ud \ud In this study several legal high products were purchased and analysed for their content. The powdered products were screened with ATR-FTIR followed by GC-MS analysis of methanol extracts. Spectra were compared to reference standards and the NIST library.\ud \ud Results showed that 6 out of 7 products did not contain the advertised active ingredient. Moreover, five samples contained the controlled substances benzylpiperazine and 1-[3-(trifluoromethyl)phenyl]piperazine combined with\ud caffeine

Topics: F151 Pharmaceutical Chemistry, F100 Chemistry, F180 Analytical Chemistry
Publisher: Wiley Publishing
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1002/dta.274
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.lincoln.ac.uk:3956
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