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Is methylphenidate a prescription drug being sold in the illegal market? Analysis of samples submitted to a drug checking facility

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 March 2020

P. Quintana-Mathé
Affiliation:
Institut Català de la Salut, EAP Raval Sud, Barcelona, Spain Associació Benestar i Desenvolupament, Energy Control, Barcelona, Spain
M. Grifell-Guàrdia*
Affiliation:
Associació Benestar i Desenvolupament, Energy Control, Barcelona, Spain Parc de Salut Mar, Institut de Neuropsiquiatria i Addiccions, Barcelona, Spain Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute, Grup de Recerca en Addiccions, Barcelona, Spain
Á. Palma
Affiliation:
Parc de Salut Mar, Institut de Neuropsiquiatria i Addiccions, Barcelona, Spain Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute, Grup de Recerca en Addiccions, Barcelona, Spain
I. Fornís-Espinosa
Affiliation:
ABD – Associació Benestar i Desenvolupament, Energy Control, Barcelona, Spain
C. Gil-Lladanosa
Affiliation:
ABD – Associació Benestar i Desenvolupament, Energy Control, Barcelona, Spain
F. Caudevilla-Galligo
Affiliation:
Associació Benestar i Desenvolupament, Energy Control, Barcelona, Spain
L. Galindo-Guarin
Affiliation:
Parc de Salut Mar, Institut de Neuropsiquiatria i Addiccions, Barcelona, Spain Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute, Grup de Recerca en Addiccions, Barcelona, Spain Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra, Spain
M. Farré-Albaladejo
Affiliation:
Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra, Spain Hospital Germans Trías i Pujol, Farmacologia Clínica, Badalona, Spain
M. Torrens-Melich
Affiliation:
Parc de Salut Mar, Institut de Neuropsiquiatria i Addiccions, Barcelona, Spain Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute, Grup de Recerca en Addiccions, Barcelona, Spain Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra, Spain
M. Ventura-Vilamala
Affiliation:
Associació Benestar i Desenvolupament, Energy Control, Barcelona, Spain Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute, Grup de Recerca en Addiccions, Barcelona, Spain
*
* Corresponding author.
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Abstract

Introduction

Methylphenidate is a CNS stimulant approved for treatment of ADHD. It is generally considered well tolerated and exhibiting low dependence potential, although diversion for recreational use has been described. Provided that its effects are comparable to those of more popular drugs of abuse, such as cocaine and amphetamines, we hypothesized that it could be sold as such.

Objective

The aim of this study was:

– to describe the presence of methylphenidate from the samples handled to, and analyzed by, Spanish harm-reduction service energy control between August 2009 and August 2015;

– to determine whether it is being sold as other drugs.

Materials and methods

All samples presented to energy control (EC) were analyzed. EC is a Spanish harm-reduction non-governmental organization that offers to users the possibility of analyzing the substances they intend to consume.

Samples in which methylphenidate was detected using Gas Chromatography–Mass Spectrometry were selected for this study.

Results

From a total of 20062 samples, 17 contained methylphenidate (0,09%), with no clear variations among the years studied. The samples were mostly sold as amphetamine (29%), methylphenidate (23%) and ethylphenidate (18%).

Conclusion

Presence of Methylphenidate in the Spanish illegal drug market seems anecdotic and stable over the studied timeframe. Moreover, it was sold as substances with similar dosages, lowering potential for life-threatening intoxications. Therefore, our results suggest that diversion of methylphenidate into the drug market as adulterant is not a concerning phenomenon.

Disclosure of interest

The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.

Type
EV84
Copyright
Copyright © European Psychiatric Association 2016

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