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Rise of Synthetic Drugs

The increasing prevalence of a new range of drugs of abuse is providing a considerable challenge to current work place drug testing programmes. The first of these are the synthetic cannabinoids which are chemical compounds that mimic the effects of THC (marijuana) but are structurally different enough to not be detected on standard onsite screening devices. These substances may be found in products with brand names such as Kronic, Northern Lights, Spice, Kaos, Voodoo and Mango and originally did not fall under the various state and federal legislations prohibiting drugs of abuse.


Beginning with WA, the states prohibited the 7 most common variants of these class of drugs, however new variants soon began to appear. Currently there are up to 30 variants that have been identified in Australia and potentially 300 that have appeared worldwide. In order to address this issue the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) entered a new classification into the Schedule 9 effective from May 1 2012 which governs illegal drugs to include any drug that mimics the effects of THC. That means any new synthetic cannabinoid compound will be included on this schedule and will be treated the same as marijuana.


The next challenge sees the emergence of other synthetic compounds such as the synthetic cocaine and ecstasy such as those referenced in the linked article (http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/-28phr.html).


There are considerable difficulties in detecting these new substances.


With our scientific, medical and OHS expertise, the DASA team is able to provide the most up to date and accurate information to organisations to assist them effectively address these issues in the workplace.


To find out how DASA can assist your organisation, contact us at info@dasa.net.au.