Thursday, February 20, 2014

Remind me to never take a banana or my brain into Alabama...

Here is a story about the new legislation on synthetic drugs pending in Alabama.  And here is a PDF of Senate Bill 333.

Upon reviewing the bill, it is very comprehensive. In the synthetic drugs section, it explicitly lists 354 compounds by name.  It lists 17 banned general structural classes of compounds. It includes extremely broad analogue language.

It is the most up to date legislation that I have seen. When looking at the list of compounds, it is amazing and exhaustive. It's the first legislation that I've seen that addresses some of the new THJ series synthetic cannabinoids (THJ-018 and THJ-2201).  It's the first that I've seen address another new synthetic cannabinoid, FUB-PB-22. It includes cathinones and hallucinogens. It includes our old friend desomorphine. Designer opioids, W-15 and W-18, are included too. Acetylfentanyl is present.

When I made my way down the list, one substance did strike me as peculiar to be listed as a controlled substance...

Page 41 of the PDF referenced above 
Substance 241
5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT)


Yes, that's correct.  5-HT, otherwise known as serotonin, is listed in pending legislation in the state of Alabama under the synthetic drugs section and if passed into law, 5-HT will be considered a Schedule I controlled substance. Bewildering.

So, what does this mean? I'm not sure. I can't speak for the legislators in Alabama or the consultants who pulled together the list of compounds.

5-HT has been found to exist in plants, fruit, vegetables, and chocolate. Will those now be considered a synthetic drug controlled substance? Will there be police raids at your local supermarket? Will your local farmer growing tomatoes be shutdown and have assets seized? Will walnuts be outlawed?

Is 5-HT a controlled substance in any place in the US or any other country?

Alabama, if you want my banana, come and take it!

Addendum (added 2/21/2014, 7;50 am)

Upon more detailed review, AL SB333 also controls two other  compounds, 2-PEA and tyramine, under the "synthetic controlled substance" section.

2-PEA is a naturally occurring monoamine alkaloid and is found naturally in the CNS as it is the enzymatic decarboxylation product of the amino acid phenylalanine. It is found in some of my favorite foods, including chocolate and wine!

Tyramine is also a naturally occurring compound that occurs widely as well and is found in a myriad of plants and foods, including certain cheeses, bananas (again!), and one of my favorites, sauerkraut. It is derived from the amino acid tyrosine.

And the beat goes on...



1 comment:

  1. A quick read at the text of the proposal seems to specify that some of the chemical compounds must be "synthetic" to be covered. So maybe possessing chocolate in Alabama won't be a problem.

    I also find it interesting that the text is vague in regard to some of the listed chemicals which are not defined any further than an ambiguous code like "W-15" (unless I'm missing something). For those familiar with designer drugs, it's not hard to figure out what is intended, but it is surprising vague for a legal document.