International Journal of Legal Medicine

, Volume 133, Issue 2, pp 475–478 | Cite as

Murdered while under the influence of 3-MeO-PCP

  • Pascal KintzEmail author
  • Alice Ameline
  • Alexis Walch
  • Audrey Farrugia
  • Jean-Sébastien Raul
Case Report


The abuse of new psychoactive substances (NPS) has been dramatically increasing all around the world since the late 2000s. The availability of hundreds of NPS in the past decade is challenging for both public health and global drug policies. A 39-year-old woman, known as a multidrug addict, was murdered by her partner by ligature strangulation. A comprehensive toxicological screening by gas chromatography and ultra-high performance liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry revealed the simultaneous presence of ethanol (1.37 g/L), diazepam (157 ng/mL) and nordiazepam (204 ng/mL), cocaine (25 ng/mL) and benzoylecgonine (544 ng/mL), and (3-methoxy-(1-(1-phenylcyclohexyl)piperidine) or 3-MeO-PCP, a dissociative hallucinogen anesthetic drug. Concentrations of 3-MeO-PCP were 63, 64, and 94 ng/mL in femoral blood, bile, and urine, respectively. Hair tested also positive for 3-MeO-PCP on 3 × 2-cm segments at 731, 893, and 846 pg/mg, indicating long-term abuse of the drug. This seems to be the first ever reported hair concentrations. Major impairment of the victim, including visual hallucinations and alteration of behavior, was attributed to the mixture of all the drugs, with a major contribution of 3-MeO-PCP. The toxicological findings were compared to the few reports available in the medical literature.


New psychoactive substances 3-MeO-PCP UPLC-MS/MS Severe hallucinations 


  1. 1.
    Observatoire Français des Drogues et des Toxicomanies. Drogues, chiffres clés, 6ème édition, Juin 2015, pp 1–8Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Maddox VH, Godefroi EF, Parcell RF (1965) The synthesis of phencyclidine and other 1-arylcyclohexylamines. J Med Chem 8:230–235CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Geneste P, Kamenka JM, Ung SN, Herrmann P, Goudal R, Trouiller G (1979) Conformational determination of phencyclidine derivatives in view of structure-activity correlation. Eur J Med Chem 14:301Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Roth BL, Gibbons S, Arunotayanum W, Huang XP, Setola V, Treble R, Iversen L (2013) The ketamine analogue methoxetamine and 3- and 4-methoxy analogues of phencyclidine are high affinity and selective ligants for the glutamate NMDA receptor. PLoS One 8:e59334CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Morris H, Wallach J (2014) From PCP to MXE: a comprehensive review of the non-medical use of dissociative drugs. Drug Test anal 6:614–632CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Allard S, Deslandes G, Gaborit B, Lomenech H, Pineau A, Jolliet P, Garret C, Monteil-Gagnière C (2017) 3-MeO-PCP et 4-MeO-PCP: confusion des isomers et rique majeur de toxicité. Toxicol Anal Clin 29:s47–s48Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Zidkova M, Hlozek T, Balik M, Kopecky O, Tesinsky P, Svanda J, Balikova MA (2017) Two cases of non-fatal intoxication with a novel street hallucinogen: 3-methoxy-phencyclidine. J Anal Toxicol 41:350–354CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Bertol E, Pascali J, Palumbo D, Catalani V, Di Milia MG, Fioravanti A, Mari F, Vaiano F (2017) 3-MeO-PCP intoxication in two young men: first in vivo detection in Italy. Forensic Sci Int 274:7–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Johansson A, Lindstedt D, Roman M, Thelander G, Nielsen E, Lennborn U, Sandler H, Rubertsson S, Ahlner J, Kronstrand R, Kugelberg FC (2017) A non-fatal intoxication and seven deaths involving the dissiciative drug 3-MeO-PCP. Forensic Sci Int 275:76–82CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Mitchell-Mata C, Thomas B, Peterson B, Couper F (2017) Two fatal intoxications involving 3-methoxyphencyclidine. J Anal Toxicol 41:503–507CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Bakota E, Arndt C, Romoser AA, Wilson SK (2016) Fatal intoxication involving 3-MeO-PCP: a case report and validated method. J Anal Toxicol 40:504–510CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Michely JA, Manier SK, Caspar AT, Brandt SD, Wallach J, Maurer HH (2017) New psychoactive substances 3-methoxyphencyclidine (3-MeO-PCP) and 3-methoxyrolicyclidine (3-MeO-PCPy): metabolic fate elucidated with rat urine and human liver preparations and their detectability in urine by GC-MS, “LC-(high resolution)-MSn” and “LC-(high resolution)-MS/MS”. Curr Neuropharmacol 15:692–712CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Kintz P (2017) Hair analysis in forensic toxicology: an updated review with a special focus on pitfalls. Curr Pharm Des 23:5480–5486Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Salomone A, Vicenti M, Gerace E (2017) Interpretation of NPS in real hair samples. Toxicol Anal Clin 29:4–10Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Stevenson R, Tuddenham L (2014) Novel psychoactive substance intoxication resulting in attempted murder. J Forensic Legal Med 25:60–61CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Fauman MA, Fauman BJ (1979) Violence with phencyclidine abuse. Am J Psychiatry 136:1584–1586CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Wright HH (1980) Violence and PCP abuse. Am J Psychiatry 137:752–753Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Khajawall AM, Erickson TB, Simpson GM (1982) Chronic phencyclidine abuse and physical assault. Am J Psychiatry 139:1604–1606CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Fishbein DH (1996) Female PCP-using jail detainees: proneness to violence and gender differences. Addict Behav 21:155–172CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Brecher M, Wang BW, Wong H, Morgan JP (1988) Phencyclidine and violence: clinical and legal issues. J Clin Psychopharmacol 8:397–401CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut de médecine légaleStrasbourgFrance

Personalised recommendations