Warning: UK E-liquids may Contain Dangerous Synthetic Drugs

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Warning: UK E-liquids may Contain Dangerous Synthetic Drugs
Warning: Some e-liquids sold in the UK may contain illicit substances, including synthetic cannabinoids known as "spice."

Recently, health experts in Wales, UK issued a warning claiming that e-liquids being sold in the country may contain synthetic marijuana compounds known as "Spice". They argue that these illicit e-liquids have extremely potent medicinal effects and pose a danger to users who opt for counterfeit prescription drug e-cigarette products.


Some e-liquids consumed by UK consumers in their daily lives contain cannabis, CBD, or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Recently, WEDINOS, the only nationwide drug testing service in the UK, conducted tests and found that certain e-liquids being sold in the market also contain a potent synthetic drug known as synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists (SCRAs), sometimes referred to as "spice." Based on these test results, the Welsh public health department has stated that some of these products being sold in the UK pose significant risks to consumers.


Synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists (SCRAs) are a group of compounds associated with significant health issues, ranging from respiratory difficulties to psychiatric episodes. The latest data from WEDINOS, an organization, reveals that out of the 196 liquid samples submitted to them in 2023, 75 samples (almost one-third) contained one or more SCRA compounds.


These samples were purchased in the form of cannabis, CBD, or THC e-liquids. Among the number of hospitalizations due to illicit drugs, opioids are the most prevalent, followed by cannabis and synthetic cannabinoids such as Spice. Opioids also remain the most likely type of drug to be associated with drug-related deaths.


Experts from the agency have expressed concern over a significant increase in the number of counterfeit prescription drug samples they have received, which have been contaminated with potentially hazardous substances. They have also frequently detected the presence of benzodiazepines, a class of drugs commonly purchased as prescription medication, such as diazepam and hydrocodone.


These highly concentrated synthetic opioid medications can pose a threat to life, and there is a significant risk of overdosing. Last year, WEDINOS received 90 samples containing nitrous nitrogen drugs, with nearly 50% purchased under the mistaken belief of being an anti-anxiety medication called diazepam.


Professor Rick Lines, the Head of Drug Abuse at the Welsh Public Health Department, has highlighted the need to recognize the increased risk of medication overdose associated with high-concentration drugs. "Our concern is that people who purchase e-cigarettes online may not actually be receiving what they believe they are getting," he cautioned.


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