The huge rise in synthetic drugs

The truck drives County Road 911, crossing Aveyron from south to north. The car model is the most trivial. Its path carefully avoids the main roads. Its cargo consists of a few boxes and trash bags. The flight was proceeding unimpeded on January 19, until a uniformed patrol signaled the driver to stop. Unexpected customs control.

The monochrome boxes are loaded in Spain, bound for the Netherlands, and leave no doubt. These soft white crystals, measuring 613 kilograms on the scale, fuel the drug trafficking network … but they are, however, not cocaine. Early chemical tests indicate a reaction with phencyclidine (phencyclidine, a mind-altering hallucinogen), ketamine and ‘bath salts’.

Read also: This article is reserved for our subscribers “Synthetic drugs have moved from clandestine settings to widespread use”

The powder was urgently sent to a specialized laboratory located in Marseille, and his identity was revealed the next day. Synthetic cathinone, derived from the leaves of khat – an African shrub with stimulating effects. Most popular among New psychoactive substances” (NSP), also called “new synthetic products” (NPS), these are laboratory-produced drugs that are derived by chemical modification from conventional drugs or generics. Estimated value of loot: 9,195,000 euros.

At the beginning of June, it was the turn of the Spanish Civil Guard to make another discovery: 3.2 tons of industrial cathinone was seized in the port of Barcelona, ​​representing a market value of 61 million euros. NSP seizures have never been so important in Europe, where these drugs feed emerging markets, under close scrutiny.

“Particle Race”

“Among the NPS, two large families are particularly watched in France: synthetic cathinones – in particular 3-MMC – and synthetic cannabinoids, due to their increasing distribution in the territory”Sabrina Scherky and Michel Gandelhon, who are responsible for studies at the French Observatory on Drugs and Addictions, point out. They determined that in 2017, 3.8% of 17-year-olds said they had actually consumed it—without knowing how to determine the type of NPS consumed—compared to 1.9% in 2014.

“Spice Diamond”, “Yucatan Fire” or “Chill X”, the names compete in authenticity

Instead of vague scientific cults, consumers are becoming more familiar with the best-selling brand names, linked to promotions that can be accessed with a few clicks on the internet and the dark web and payable in bitcoin. “Spice Diamond,” “Yucatan Fire,” or “Chill X,” the names compete in authenticity. blue buddhaAnd the Or “fart your skull”, is the synthetic cannabis that has undoubtedly had the greatest media impact in France. It was identified in 2013, and has since been spotted in several schools, first in Normandy and then in Hautes-Pyrénées, in the form of vaping liquid.

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