Rapid Detection of Designer Drugs within the Routine Laboratory

31 Jul 2013
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Science needs to work hard to keep pace with clandestine designer drugs labs – that was the hard-hitting message delivered to delegates at AACC Clinical Lab Expo. Leading testing firm, Randox Toxicology highlighted the problem and outlined the requirement for a rapid and comprehensive designer drugs testing system to tackle the issue.

In recent years there has been a significant increase in new ‘designer drugs,’ also known as legal highs or bath salts. UN Drugs and Crime Office reported recently that member states have experienced a rise in numbers by more than 50 per cent in less than three years to 251 new designer drugs by mid-2012.

Speaking after addressing delegates, Randox Toxicology’s R&D team leader Dr Joanne Darragh said, “The current most prolific designer substances are synthetic cannabinoids (K2 and SPICE) and the synthetic cathinones, commonly referred to as ‘Bath Salts’ mirroring to a large extent the effects of the most popular traditional drugs. A recent development, however, is an increasing proportion of substances reported that are from less known and more obscure chemical groups. These compounds are often not detected among users who undergo regular drug screening due to the absence of a wider screening methodology.”

Randox Toxicology have developed the most rapid and comprehensive designer drug test in the world, as Dr Darragh further explained,

“Randox’s unique multiplex system allows us to detect 110 designer drugs, from one blood or urine sample.

“There is also a growing trend coming from the labs creating designer drugs to modify the molecular structure in order to navigate national and international bans. Development of new antibodies means that Randox Toxicology has the capability to rapidly meet changing trends in designer drug use, in fact, we can adapt our technology to test for new or modified drugs quicker than any other supplier in the world.”

“Thanks to Randox’s revolutionary biochip array technology, we can adapt any test in a completely unique and accurate way to produce the quickest result.”

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Sonia Nicholas
Clinical Diagnostics Editor