Clandestine Chemists Diversify to Stay Ahead of Latest Round of Drug Scheduling NMS Labs

The latest data emerging from the Designer Drug Initiative at NMS Labs points to the continuing growth and diversification of the designer drug market. Expanding from a handful of compounds just two years ago, products currently on sale through smoke shops, novelty shops, convenience stores and online contain over 40 different chemicals, and the make-up of these has changed dramatically even over the first six months of the year.

Dr. Barry Logan, NMS Labs Director of Forensic and Toxicological Services, and leader of its Designer Drug Initiative revealed the latest trend data at the Society of Forensic Toxicologists meeting in Boston this month.

“Even as Congress moved to expand the list of scheduled drugs, and the Bill was waiting for the President’s signature, additional classes of compounds have started to appear,” said Logan. “The synthetic marijuana market has changed with novel chemical compounds not seen in the U.S. before now, making up over 20 percent of the positive results for the second quarter of 2012.”

The new drugs, XLR-11 and UR-144, are chemically related to the scheduled compounds like JWH-018 and AM-2201; however, the speed with which they appeared on the market has been alarming.

In addition, new “Bath Salts” compounds have started to appear, including DMAA, buphedrone, pentylone, and related cathinone compounds, sold as bath salts, bath bubbles, and glass cleaner and advertised as “not for human consumption” to hide their true purpose.

“In the wake of high profile violent attacks and police shootings alleged to involve mind-altering hallucinogens, NMS Labs has developed the ability to help investigators rule out the latest compounds known to be on the market, and help guide the investigation to other leads,” Logan explained.

Through its work with law enforcement agencies, death investigators, and clinicians, and keeping up with developments in Asia and Europe, NMS Labs changes its scope of testing monthly to ensure its customers can be confident that these tests are current and comprehensive. NMS Labs will release its full second-quarter Designer Drug Trends Report next month in advance of the IACP Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) conference in Seattle.

About NMS Labs:

NMS Labs, is the nation’s premier independent clinical toxicology and diagnostic laboratory, backed by a comprehensive list of accreditations and a team of more than 200 scientific staff. A national reference laboratory, it offers more than 2,500 assays that test for commonly abused and therapeutic drugs, environmental agents, metals, and more. For more information on NMS Labs, please visit