Scheduling synthetic cathinone substances under the Controlled Substances Act
- 132 Downloads
Background and rationale
Cathinones are amphetamine analogues that produce stimulant effects with rewarding properties. For many decades, synthetic cathinones have been used in the United States (USA) for abuse purposes, leading to concern about public safety by the federal government. Under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), the federal government may place drugs with high abuse potential but no currently accepted medical use into Schedule I of the CSA. The process of scheduling an abusable drug involves both the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and the Department of Justice, through the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
This paper details how numerous synthetic cathinones were placed under CSA control between 1973 and 2018, with an emphasis on 10 cathinones that were placed into Schedule I in 2017 (butylone, naphyrone, pentylone, pentedrone, 3-fluoro-N-methylcathinone (FMC), 4-FMC, 4-methyl-N-ethylcathinone, 4-methyl-pyrrolidinopropiophenone, alpha-pyrrolidinobutiophenone, and α-pyrrolidinopentiophenone). A summary is provided of the scientific and medical analysis performed by HHS, in the form of an Eight-Factor Analysis (8FA), as prescribed by the CSA. This 8FA was then evaluated and signed by the Assistant Secretary for Health at HHS and transmitted to DEA, which permanently placed the 10 cathinones into Schedule I after public notices were published into the Federal Register.
Discussion and conclusions
Understanding the scientific data, analysis, and complex process utilized by the US federal government in the CSA scheduling of cathinones with abuse potential and no accepted medical use is important for transparency in governmental decision-making.
KeywordsCathinone Scheduling Abuse Regulation Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Controlled Substances Act (CSA) Psychotropic convention
The authors thank James Hunter of the Controlled Substance Staff at the Food and Drug Administration for expertise on international drug scheduling issues.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest statement
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
This paper reflects the views of the authors and does not necessarily represent those of FDA.
- Drug Enforcement Administration/Department of Justice, (2014) Data Review Document: Eight Factor Analysis for 4-methyl-N-ethylcathinone (4-MEC), 4-methyl-pyrrolidino-propiophenone (4-MePPP), alpha-pyrrolidinopentiophenone (α-PVP), 1-(1,3-benzodioxol-5-yl)-2-(methylamino)butan-1-one (butylone), 2-(methylamino)-1-phenylpentan-1-one (pentedrone), 1-(1,3-benzodioxol-5-yl)-2-(methylamino)pentan-1-one (pentylone), 4-fluoro-N-methylcathinone (4-FMC; flephedrone), 3-fluoro-N-methylcathinone (3-FMC), 1-(naphthalen-2-yl)-2-(pyrrolidin-1-yl)pentan-1-one (naphyrone), alpha-pyrrolidinobutiophenone (α-PBP). Submitted to Dr. Karen DeSalvo, Acting Assistant Secretary for Health, Department of Health and Human ServicesGoogle Scholar
- AAPCC (2013) American Association of Poison Control Centers. Bath salts dataGoogle Scholar
- AAPCC (2014) American Association of Poison Control Centers. 2014. Bath salts dataGoogle Scholar
- Aarde SM, Creehan KM, Vandewater SA, Dickerson TJ, Taffe MA (2015) In vivo potency and efficacy of the novel cathinone α-pyrrolidinopentiophenone and 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone: self-administration and locomotor stimulation in male rats. Psychopharmacology 232(16):3045–3055CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Forster MJ, Rutledge M, Gatch MB (2014) Discriminative and locomotor effects of three synthetic cathinones. College on Problems of Drug Dependence conference program 76:57Google Scholar
- Kaizaki A, Tanaka S, Numazawa S (2014) New recreational drug 1-phenyl-2-(1-pyrrolidinyl)-1-pentanone (alpha-PVP) activates central nervous system via dopaminergic neuron. J Toxicol Sci 39(1):l–6Google Scholar
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (2011–2013). Report. Contracts. NOIDA-7-8872 and NOIDA-13-8908 or ADA 12012. Unpublished dataGoogle Scholar
- Rojek S, Klys M, Strona M, Maciów M, Kula K (2012) “Legal highs”—toxicity in the clinical and medico-legal aspect as exemplified by suicide with bk-MBDB administration. Forensic Sci Int 222(1–3):el–e6Google Scholar
- Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (2013) The DAWN Report. “Bath Salts” were involved in over 20,000 drug-related emergency department visits in 2011. http://www.samhsa.gov/data (accessed September 17, 2013)
- WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (1985) Twenty-second report. In: World Health Organization technical report series, vol 729. World Health Organization, Geneva, p 8Google Scholar