Some 348 new synthetic drugs have popped up in over 90 countries around the world, according to a report released today by the United Nations' drug agency [PDF].. The report confirms that meth remains king, and its production is growing in places you might not expect--like West Africa.
The agency also warns of the growth of "legal highs" referred to as "new psychoactive substances," or NPS:
Marketed - often wrongly - as 'legal highs' and 'designer drugs', NPS are proliferating but in the absence of an international framework, responses to the problem vary significantly from country to country. None of the 348 NPS reported globally in over 90 countries at the end of 2013 is currently under international control. However, in 2014, the United Kingdom requested the international control of mephedrone, a potentially fatal substance, under the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. The use of synthetic cannabinoids, which mimic the effects of cannabis, is soaring; the total number of these substances almost doubled from 60 in mid-2012 to 110 by 2013.
Synthetic drugs have gained in popularity among the young. In parts of South and Central America, ATS use in younger age groups sometimes even exceeds that of cannabis and/or cocaine. In North America and Europe, certain NPS are more widely used by young consumers than traditional illicit drugs.
A particularly worrying development is that NPS are no longer restricted to niche markets. Evidence from almost all regions of the world indicates that tablets sold as ecstasy or methamphetamine contain substances other than the touted active ingredients - increasingly, they comprise chemical cocktails that pose unforeseen public health challenges. Emergency services may therefore find themselves unable to identify life-threatening substances and powerless to administer the proper medical treatment.
A synopsis of the agency's findings is here.
Scientists discovered this new species of “glass frog” in Ecuador’s Amazon lowlands. Hyalinobatrachium yaku’s belly is so transparent that you can clearly see its kidneys, bladder, and beating heart. From Science News: Yaku means “water” in Kichwa, a language spoken in Ecuador and parts of Peru where H. yaku may also live. Glass frogs, like […]
Jennifer Raff — a bioanthropologist and geneticist who researches and teaches at U Kansas and U Texas — provides some excellent advice and context on how to read a scientific paper, from figuring out which papers and journals are worthy of your attention to understanding the paper in its wider context in the relevant field.
Apple released this lovely new commercial featuring Carl Sagan reading from his magnificent 1994 book Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space, now available as an audiobook. This surprising partnership spurred Adweek to interview my friend Ann Druyan, Sagan’s wife, collaborator, and creative director of the Voyager Golden Record, about being […]
Learning a new language will give your resume an upgrade, sure, but it will also provide a huge cognitive boost for mental tasks outside of translation and conversation. Bilingual brains have been shown to be better at handling multiple concurrent tasks, and gaining fluency in a new tongue is an amazing way to improve memory, […]
If you struggle to get a good night’s rest, consider replacing your pillows before dropping hundreds on a new mattress. You can give your tired neck a break with a 2-pack of memory foam pillows, available now in the Boing Boing Store.Each of these pillows is stuffed with cooling polyurethane foam that molds to your […]
Although flagship smartphones are unlikely to adopt heavy-duty outer casing anytime soon, you can always prepare your device for the outdoors with a beefy case and and an external battery like this Nomad Tile Trackable PowerPack, available in the Boing Boing Store for $119.95.The Nomad Tile can fully recharge an iPhone 7 over three times […]