Objectives: Methiopropamine (MPA; 1-(thiophen-2-yl)-2-methylaminopropane) belongs to the new psychoactive substances (NPS) that have emerged on the drug market in recent years. MPA appeared in 2011 and is an analogue of methamphetamine, sold as, for example, "Slush Eric" and "Blow." It is reported to have effects similar to those of methamphetamine, but the toxicity in humans is not known. Three fatal cases involving MPA have been reported. One analytical confirmed intoxication case has been published, and this supports the symptoms described by the users. The prevalence of recreational use of MPA is unknown, and no studies have reported the prevalence in driving under the influence of drug (DUID) cases.
Methods: We investigated the frequency of MPA in DUID cases received at our institute during a 12-week period and report the analytical method using an ultraperformance liquid chromatography.tandem mass spectrometry for quantification of MPA in whole blood. The analytical findings were compared to the results from a clinical test of impairment performed by a physician shortly after the driving episode. The samples were analyzed for 42 different psychoactive substances.
Results: MPA was detected in 10 DUID cases (0.8% of the cases), only from male drivers. Other drugs were detected concomitantly in all the cases. Two of the cases were traffic accidents.
Conclusions: Our study shows that MPA is found in DUID cases and reveals that NPS are used among drivers and also proven in blood from drivers involved in traffic accidents. More studies are requested regarding the pharmacological and toxicological effects of MPA and other NPS. This is the first article that describes a method for analyzing and quantifying MPA in whole blood samples.
Keywords: DUID; MPA; NPS; methiopropamine.