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Austria's Mobile Drug Lab Could Test Street-Drug Effects, Too

timothy posted about a year ago | from the gute-hauskiepink-siel-uff-uproofal dept.

Medicine 34

carmendrahl writes "In Austria, people can submit their street drugs to a lab-on-a-bus to ensure they got what they paid for. The government is using the bus to track emergence of new variants of bath salts and other drugs. Now, researchers have developed a test they'd like to add to the bus's offerings: it assesses drug action (full paper) instead of just reporting chemical structure."

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frist psot (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42312513)

frist psot

Re:frist psot (1)

Eightbitgnosis (1571875) | about a year ago | (#42312571)

Maybe you should get whatever you took analyzed by one of these labs?

Re:frist psot (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42312651)

nah no need, but i understand many people use marquis reagent for a rough appraisal.

im kind interested in why they feel the transporters are sufficient, and for only SERT, DAT and NET.

after all there are many classes of drugs that work on, NMDA receptors, GABA channels, or the Opioid receptors, or Canabinoid recepts (dimers). yeah what about the recently understood fact that many receptors form dimers where two neurotransmitter systems interact via a coupled arrangement of receptors.

what about PDE inhibitors? like caffeine, (also an adenosine antagonist). There are some stimulants that works via this pathway.

there there are the direct agonists, im pretty sure LSD for example is thought to act by direct action on various 5HT receptors rather than on the transporters. still if theyve got a completely automated system that can assay an unknown substance on human cells, (wonder what kind of cell they are), it sounds interesting. are we talking a completely automated patch clamp assay? or would a technician do the pipette positioning.

they have a mass spectrometer on a bus? woah. i would have expected perhaps IR spectroscopy but MS, thats one expensive bus.

Re:frist psot (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42313131)

They have government junkies sitting there, trying those drugs and evaluating them.

DanceSafe (5, Informative)

Knile (18599) | about a year ago | (#42312589)

DanceSafe [dancesafe.org] has been doing their form of this for years in the US.

Re:DanceSafe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42312677)

Our "checkit" isnt new either, but the check for drug effects will be ;)

Re:DanceSafe (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | about a year ago | (#42313981)

Yeah, but don't you have to mail a sample in and wait a while before you get results from DanceSafe? This is a mobile lab that gives you quick results. That is the part that is unique, not just the testing part.

Re:DanceSafe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42314211)

No they haven't. This is a new type of test.

Yes, Austria has a drug problem: Alcohol (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42312613)

As an Austrian, I can confirm that we've got a huge drug problem. But it is not really designer drugs, coke or heroin, it is simply Alcohol. Beer and Wine (as well as the cider-like "Most" in my region) have a long tradition, and are the socially accepted ways of killing yourself slowly with chemicals. Unlike illegal drugs there are strong economic incentives to keep it that way, though. Illegal drugs are really negible problem, as terrible it may be to the individual.

Re:Yes, Austria has a drug problem: Alcohol (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42312881)

Maybe in your region it is alcohol. I tell you, though, the stunned and slathering people in Vienna with the blue tongues at Karlsplatz kind of freak me out. They would probably benefit from this program.

Re:Yes, Austria has a drug problem: Alcohol (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#42314051)

No, they'll be fine, they're (ab)using drugs that have been produced by some pharma companies, not some back alley shady pseudo meth lab.

Don't you know? You can only get sick from the clandestine street labs, but never from approved drugs your friendly pharma corporations provide to make your life better.

As a Educational Drug User.... (5, Interesting)

m.shenhav (948505) | about a year ago | (#42312671)

as well as a Recreational one..... I support a policy of informing users instead of prosecuting them. Legal prosecution and social stigmatization at no way to encourage people to learn about whats out there and make informed decisions.

Living in Vienna for 3 years I witnessed a relatively tolerant drug policy. Personally I feel that this approach prevents a lot of conflict, paranoia and alienation that occurs in less tolerant places. That the city has a culture of drug use while maintaining its number 1 position in several rankings for living quality, could be construed as corroborating evidence.

Re:As a Educational Drug User.... (3, Informative)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year ago | (#42312847)

Shhhh! You're going to cause a lot of people's strokes here! Any city with a drug culture must be a hellhole to live in. Our government has been telling us that for decades, so it has to be true!

Re:As a Educational Drug User.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42321297)

It's because you Americans choose to take them rectally via politician. That's your problem.

Re:As a Educational Drug User.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42322011)

It's because you Americans choose to take them rectally via politician. That's your problem.

No, no, you've got it wrong, those aren't drugs being administered, it's discipline!

Re:As a Educational Drug User.... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#42314187)

Depends on the drug.

Austria, and Vienna especially, has a rather interesting approach to drugs. Sure, everything's illegal, but there are grades of prosecution. Pot? *shrug* Crack? *sound of door being kicked down*

I could live with that.

Re:As a Educational Drug User.... (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year ago | (#42315009)

Correlation is not causation. Repeat this until you understand it.

Of course, this is in reply to a pro-drug message, so it will be ignored and probably moderated down, whereas if it were in reply to a less popular idea, would be moderated to +5. Funny how that works, isn't it?

Nothing special (5, Informative)

Phobos Gekko (1575107) | about a year ago | (#42312713)

As per the abstract, compounds to be identified are done so with a mass spectrometer - nothing special if you're used to working in an organic chemistry lab. The identified molecule is then checked against a database of other known molecules, where if it happens to be new and unidentified, a test is then performed to see how markedly it affects serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine. From this, you are able to /roughly/ infer what actions and side-effects it may cause to the user. That's the gist of it!

Re:Nothing special (3, Insightful)

avandesande (143899) | about a year ago | (#42314063)

Sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen- tests like this might work well at finding specific compounds but don't work very well at finding toxins or impurities. Theses tests are going to give users a false sense of security.

Re:Nothing special (2)

Xacid (560407) | about a year ago | (#42314255)

I think I missed a step in your thought process. It can find compounds but not tell which ones are toxins/impurities?

For my fellow squares (2)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#42312733)

new variants of bath salts

Note that that should be "bath salts" in quotes. It's a range of drugs that are sold under the guise of bath salts despite having no use as such.

Re:For my fellow squares (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42312791)

new variants of bath salts

Note that that should be "bath salts" in quotes. It's a range of drugs that are sold under the guise of bath salts despite having no use as such.

So that's what I've been doing wrong, thanks!

Re:For my fellow squares (2)

swillden (191260) | about a year ago | (#42313035)

new variants of bath salts

Note that that should be "bath salts" in quotes. It's a range of drugs that are sold under the guise of bath salts despite having no use as such.

So that's what I've been doing wrong, thanks!

What, using "bath salts" as bath salts? Or using bath salts as "bath salts"?

Re:For my fellow squares (1)

James McGuigan (852772) | about a year ago | (#42317893)

With illegal drugs, they have already been government certified (class A, B or C) and they are only available on the black market, where there is no incentive to hide what they really are (assuming they are not cut).

With drugs that have not been formally classified, this is legally a gray area, they are technically sold "not for human consumption" and thus marketed "legally" as "bath salts", "plant feeder", "room odorizer" etc... a form of legal plausible deniability for the manufacturer and the shop.

Due to the current legal framework, adding a true ingredients list would only provide additional legal liability to the manufacturer, both alerting the authorities to a new chemical they should look to ban, plus highlighting that the product is indeed "illegal" once the government gets around to updating its list of banned chemicals.

Thus we see the ingredients marked as "ketones", which sounds chemical and technical, but its vague to the point of only describing that molecule has a C=O functional group somewhere inside.

Also in the commercialised "legal high" world, there are no drug patents, only trade secrets. Commercial value comes from scarcity, and if the product itself is not scarce (assuming you know its name), the value comes from the brand name and not disclosing the secret.

The downside is that nobody really knows what they are taking, the scarcity of the tried and tested drugs (which are now all illegal) means only the new and untested drugs are legally available, until human clinical trials show its effective enough to become popular enough for journalists to talk about it, at which point the government bans the effective drug, until the human teenage guinea pigs find something else for the government to ban. It becomes even harder for the new generation to research and stay safe when attempting to get high responsibly.

This is all a dark artefact of the drug licensing laws that try to prohibit rather than regulate recreational drugs. However this would require a law saying you are allowed to openly state that an untested chemical is intended for human consumption and that information regarding its composition and known safety (even if its not been through formal clinical trials) is included and openly stated.

Re:For my fellow squares (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42313539)

I don't thinks it's just for the squares. The names for drugs in the US seem to be marketing terms for the clueless. The rest of the world prefers to use the established chemical name, its abrieviated form of its acronym at least that way there is a hope of informing yourself and others of what your taking.

The american way of just making shit up and putting a label on it guarantees that no one is informed.

The fact that "bath salts" is a range of drugs just enforces the point.

Government antipiracy law (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42313283)

Government way of checking if there is no competition on the market. How that works again? Crack head gets his stuff then go to the buss and checks what he bought? Please he will shoot that in his vain before you even blink, he doesn’t care what is inside, since he can always give shit to his dealer tomorrow that about yesterday weak crap. It must be government or music industry checking if there are no other drugs in system.

Re:Government antipiracy law (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#42314209)

I guess it's more targeted for Mr. Usually-normal-guy-but-today-partying going to a rave and getting his fix of E, not the average dopehead who's already deep in the shit.

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