An expanded urine drug test offered by Redwood Toxicology Laboratory (RTL) may be used to detect 21 designer stimulants, commonly known as “bath salts.”

The panel originally covered 14 chemicals. Now, it has been expanded to detect the following seven newer-generation compounds: buphredrone, flephedrone, pentedrone, pentylone, eutylone, a-pyrrolidinovalerophenone (a-PVP), and 4-methylethcathinone.

The abuse of designer stimulants, which are being marketed under the seemingly benign term “bath salts,” have increasingly become a cause for concern. These products are easy to get, and are often manufactured using legal ingredients.

Another plus factor for those who abuse these substances is that it is said to go undetected by standard urine drug tests.

Designer drugs, however, are far from being benign. They are said to “possess the worst characteristics of LSD, PCP, MDMA, cocaine, and methamphetamine.” Those who abuse bath salts often need to seek medical help.

Health and regulatory agencies, however, have found it difficult to deal with designer drugs. While the federal government has implemented an emergency ban against three designer stimulants late last year, new active ingredients have continued to appear.

Sumandeep Rana, Technical Director at RTL, said that while bans are effective, manufacturers have also been just as quick about changing the active ingredients in designer drugs. Rana said: “Before the 2011 federal ban of three designer stimulants, RTL had a 10% positivity rate for these drugs. After the ban, the positivity rate dropped to less than 2%… Prior to the ban, MDPV comprised more than 70% of all positives in this class. Subsequent to the federal ban, MDPV virtually disappeared from our samples.”

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