Redwood Toxicology Laboratory Introduces Designer Stimulant Testing for New "Legal High" Concerns from "Bath Salts" and MDMA Substitute

SANTA ROSA, California, January 18, 2011 - Redwood Toxicology Laboratory, Inc. (RTL) announced today a new laboratory-based urine test for the detection of 14 potentially dangerous, designer stimulant drugs. RTL remains committed to developing tests that address concerns with new and emerging trends in designer drugs that often offer a "legal high" this time providing a test for drugs that simulate the effects of amphetamines and cocaine. Redwood was first to offer "synthetic cannabinoid" (K2 and Spice) tests in urine and oral fluids. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced the intent to ban certain synthetic cannabinoids in December 2010, but some new, more potent "legal high" substances remain on shelves and are readily available online.

Young adults in the United States and other countries have reportedly died from using these products. While synthetic stimulants appear to affect users in ways similar to amphetamines and cocaine, reports concerning aggression, tachycardia, paranoia and suicide suggest that they may be more acutely toxic. There are no known medical uses for synthetic stimulants, and long-term effects are unknown, although experts have stated that cardiovascular effects can last for days after ingestion.

In December 2010, the National Drug Intelligence Center and the American Association of Poison Control Centers issued alerts about synthetic stimulants marketed as "bath salts," particularly noting the ease of access concerns and the number of nationwide emergency room visits related to these drugs. At the same time, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals announced that 84 individuals were admitted to Louisiana hospitals in the prior three months after ingesting so-called bath salts, prompting the Louisiana governor to ban these substances on January 6, 2011.

Similar to K2 or Spice, designer stimulants are produced in clandestine laboratories and are commonly sold at smoke shops or online. They are typically promoted as "bath salts," "research chemicals," or "plant food," and product labeling attempts to circumvent regulation by suggesting these stimulants are not for human consumption. Most users snort the products while some inject it. Additionally, some forms of designer stimulants may be sold as "legal" MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine, commonly known as ecstasy) or sold and veiled as MDMA tablets.

Numerous U.S. reports indicate that "bath salts" sold as recreational drugs producing euphoric and stimulating effects contain mephedrone and methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV). Laboratory analysis conducted at RTL confirmed the presence of MDPV in two different brands of bath salts, "Ivory Wave" and "Bliss."

"These currently legal substances are attractive to adolescents and young adults, particularly those seeking to avoid a positive urine drug screen, as well as those who are curious and would like to experiment," said Wayne Ross, Chief Toxicologist, RTL. "Youths may mistakenly believe that because the drug is not illegal, then it must be safe, a dangerously erroneous and potentially fatal assumption."

RTL Scientific Director Sumandeep Rana said, "It's critical that we provide our customers with drug test solutions to address current abuse trends. Last year we offered urine and oral fluid tests for Spice/K2 and saw alarming positivity rates of 25-30%. Now we have developed a test for designer stimulants that will cover both amphetamine-derived and piperazine-derived designer drugs. Our goal is to provide important state-of-the art tests that completely meet and even anticipate the needs of our customers."

RTL's new Designer Stimulant Drug Test utilizes GC/MS (gas chromatography/mass spectrometry) for screening and confirmation of designer amphetamines (MDA, MDMA, MDEA, MBDB), cathinones (Methylone, Ethylone, Butylone, Cathinone, Methcathinone, MDPV, Mephedrone) and designer piperazines (BZP, TFMPP and mCPP). Two test panel variations will be available: an expanded panel covering all aforementioned drugs, and one targeting MDPV and Mephedrone. Designer Stimulant Testing can be added to existing panels to ensure a wide-range of drugs will be detected.

"We'll continually monitor new designer stimulants that surface. We already have plans to expand testing to include 4-methoxymethcathinone, 4-Fluoromethcathinone and 3-Fluoromethcathinone in response to the Louisiana legislative ban," added Rana.

Drug testing for synthetic stimulants can assist probation officers, drug counselors and mental health clinics by identifying the cause of severe behavioral changes despite negative routine drug screens, thus assisting with treatment and control. It will also effectively help limit teen drug abuse and alleviate workplace liability.

About Redwood
Redwood Toxicology Laboratory, Inc., a subsidiary of Alere Inc., is a federally certified drug-testing laboratory. RTL offers comprehensive, low-cost drug testing and delivers the certainty of science, the dependability of proven processes and the assurance of legally defensible results. Along with the Reditest® substance abuse screening devices, RTL offers complete drug screening solutions. For more information contact: Suzanne Bertolucci, 800-255-2159 ext. 4369.

About Alere
By developing new capabilities in near-patient diagnosis, monitoring and health management, Alere enables individuals to take charge of improving their health and quality of life at home. Alere's global leading products and services, as well as its new product development efforts, focus on infectious disease, cardiology, oncology, drugs of abuse and women's health. Alere is headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts. For more information regarding Alere please visit