A new way to detect consumers of illicit drugs

Knowing how the body reacts to drugs helps identify substances to look for in urine samples

Professor Eric Chan, a pharmaceutical scientist at the National University of Singapore, and his collaborators from the Health Sciences Authority have been able to identify two trending synthetic cannabinoids by using their metabolites as biomarkers
Professor Eric Chan, a pharmaceutical scientist at the National University of Singapore, and his collaborators from the Health Sciences Authority have been able to identify two trending synthetic cannabinoids by using their metabolites as biomarkers when analysing urine samples. ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

Forensic scientists have long been on the alert to keep pace with new psychoactive substances entering the market, and tracking those who regularly consume them.

Known as NPS, these are designed to mimic the effects of controlled drugs such as cocaine, cannabis, ecstasy and methamphetamine.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 01, 2021, with the headline 'A new way to detect consumers of illicit drugs'. Subscribe