New Psychoactive Drugs Hitting Latin America

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    The Costa Rica News (TCRN) – The United Nations warned Latin America on the emergence of new psychoactive substances in the region, causing serious consequences on consumers and the need to begin to train their authorities in detection mechanisms and prevention programs.

    “In Latin America the problem is not significant yet, so we have time to develop preventive actions and empower law enforcement agencies. Prevention and dissemination are not so expensive,” Juan Carlos Araneda, the coordinator for Latin America of the specific program created by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, told The Associated Press.

    He explained that his work has focused in recent months on Latin American governments to explain what the problem is and to encourage them to create mechanisms to identify and ban these substances quickly.

    Araneda mentioned Colombia as a country that has given better responses in the region, and created an early warning system to detect these substances after seizing them.

    Besides Colombia, small amounts of these substances have been detected in Brazil, Chile and Costa Rica.

    The director of the Drug Control Police of Costa Rica, Allan Solano, told AP the discovery of these substances and expressed concern about the changes in behavior that occur between those who consume mainly upper middle class youth.

    The National Health Surveillance Agency of Brazil in 2011 banned the use of mephedrone, popularly known as “meow meow” at the request of the Federal Police as a way to prevent its entry.

    Many of these substances are traded freely – even online – and are legal drugs because they are not prohibited by national authorities or by the UN narcotics convention, although it can be lethal because they cause severe intoxication and violent behavior.

    The United Nations said in June that these substances present unexpected challenges to public health, not only by the speed with which they appear, but because they have not been tested previously for human consumption which can be even more dangerous than traditional drugs.

    As of August 2013, the United Nations has posted a total of 354 unidentified stimulants.

    The substances are popularly known as “designer drugs”, “legal highs”, “herbal highs”, “bath salts”, “research chemicals” and “laboratory reagent”, but the basic chemicals are grouped into seven categories: cannabinoids synthetic, synthetic cathinones, ketamine, phenethylamines, piperazines and vegetable substances.

    In order to standardize the nomenclature of a phenomenon as recent data, the United Nations program decided to call “new psychoactive substances” to these chemicals, although some were synthesized for the first time 40 years ago.

    The Costa Rica News (TCRN)

    San Jose Costa Rica

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