Meth abuse drives ephedrine smuggling - The Hindu
Since , OCGs have been active in the Belgian—Dutch border region, setting up synthetic laboratories, sometimes combined with cannabis cultivation Belgium: Reitox, , quoting Smet et al. Some of the Dutch OCGs producing synthetic drugs have also established themselves as important suppliers on the online market.
MDMA is also trafficked in large quantities to these destinations. The involvement of Dutch OCGs is also evident in the production of synthetic drugs in other countries, often making use of the services of local criminals. It has also been noted that the pre-precursor alpha-phenylacetoacetonitrile APAAN is often converted into BMK in Poland, because the chemicals needed for this conversion are easily obtained there.
In addition, Lithuanian OCGs are suspected of producing methamphetamine for domestic consumption as well as for export to other Member States. Members of Lithuanian OCGs, known to be involved in the production and trafficking of synthetic drugs, travel on a regular basis to Scandinavian countries.
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It is suspected that they may be involved in the conversion of amphetamine oil into the final product in these countries. Clearly, synthetic drugs cannot be produced without precursors; hence the restriction of access to precursors is critical to efforts to control illicit production. The main precursors are under international control and are listed in Table I of the United Nations Convention; however, the current reality is characterised by the emergence of novel precursors and pre-precursors that challenge the global control regime.
Scientific investigation is the key to understanding these developments, and critical information about precursors and production methods comes from forensic profiling of seizures and samples from dismantled production sites. Such forensic methods are an extremely useful, but perhaps underutilised, tool for understanding changes in synthetic drug production.
Seizures of BMK decreased steadily from to Despite these developments, there are recent indications that BMK may be re-emerging as a significant precursor in its own right. In the subsequent investigation, links with an amphetamine production site in the Netherlands were established Europol, e. BMK can be made from other chemicals, e. One of the most important developments in the story of BMK was the discovery that it can be produced from alpha-phenylacetoacetonitrile APAAN , an innovation that was probably driven by erratic availability of other precursors.
Since this development was first identified in , APAAN has become an increasingly important pre-precursor and is imported into Europe primarily from China on some occasions misdeclared as other products or substances and converted into BMK using large quantities of acids, often in dedicated conversion laboratories.
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European seizures of controlled precursors used in the production of amphetamine and methamphetamine —13 , and of APAAN — The finding of 3-oxophenylbutanamide, a substance that can be readily converted to APAAN, in a Dutch amphetamine laboratory in , indicates that criminal groups have managed to circumvent controls on APAAN. This would appear to be the first example of a substance used to make a synthetic drug pre-precursor.
Ephedrine and pseudoephedrine are produced and traded globally for legitimate ends and therefore are easily targeted for diversion, whereas BMK has few legitimate applications. Global seizures of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine in bulk and pharmaceutical preparations peaked at almost 97 tonnes in , when special international operations were mounted INCB, a.
Since then, seizures have consistently been significantly lower, with West Africa, Iran and South-East Asia identified as areas of concern. The UN Convention does not require countries to monitor trade in the ephedra plant, although it is the raw material for ephedrine and pseudoephedrine which may constitute a weak point for diversion. Pseudoephedrine and ephedrine are the main precursors used for production of methamphetamine in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany and a number of other EU Member States.
They can be extracted from medicines sold over the counter in pharmacies, but also may be trafficked in bulk powder form. Against a background of gradually decreasing amounts of BMK, the amount of bulk ephedrine and pseudoephedrine seized in indicates an increased demand around that time. In , although the amount of ephedrine preparations seized increased, the amount of bulk material decreased significantly, perhaps indicating problems with the supply chain.
Ephedrine- and pseudoephedrine-containing medicines are trafficked within Europe to producing countries, particularly the Czech Republic, notably from Poland and Turkey. Bulgarian criminal groups are known to be involved in these trafficking operations, and Bulgarian authorities have been seizing considerable quantities of these medicines. In addition, Vietnamese OCGs also use their networks to procure medicines containing pseudoephedrine for the production of methamphetamine. Associates of Vietnamese OCGs buy the medicines in multiple pharmacies in Member States not typically associated with methamphetamine production and traffic them back to the Czech Republic, on occasion exploiting legitimate business structures, such as pharmacies, for this purpose.
Currently, the size and numbers of the packages of medicines containing pseudoephedrine sold in a single transaction are not regulated by EU legislation. Ephedrine is also commonly used in drugs to treat asthma, colds, allergies, fevers, and body and joint pain. NFL players taking medications containing ephedrine will have to consult team doctors to avoid testing positive. There will be postings in every locker room, informing players that testing will begin July 1 for ephedrine, methylephedrine, pseudoephedrine, fenfluramine, norfenfluramine and phentermine.
All are considered high-risk stimulants by the NFL. Products containing these stimulants are often promoted for weight loss or increased energy; however, there is growing evidence linking these products to several life-threatening conditions such as strokes, seizures, thermo-regulatory disorders and heart arrhythmia.
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NFL officials are concerned that some players, in an effort to lose weight quicker, are taking larger-than-recommended doses of ephedrine-related products. And the government? I have no real idea, just guesses. Anyway, I realized that lots of people, just like me, would still want to use ephedrine for weight loss, staying awake or whatever. But lots of people just did not know where to look or how to use it. Well, I hope you find this information useful and save a ton of money with it.
Todd Massey. Disclaimer: This is an information resource only.
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