When street drugs are synthetic interdiction is much more challenging, Elizabeth Tracey reports


Trying to clean up street drugs used to mean interdiction, where authorities would search and seize imported cocaine or heroin, for example. Johns Hopkins substance use disorder expert Eric Strain says things are different now, and even trying to slow down component parts of synthetic drugs is a challenge.

Strain: Chemists now are tweaking drugs or tweaking the way they’re made so that they can continue to be produced even if you take care of the constituents you need to make them. So ephedrine was being used to make methamphetamine, ephedrine supplies were clamped down, that really took that away, so clever people found another way to make methamphetamine without needing ephedrine. As soon as you clamp down some other constituent somebody’s going to come up with yet another way.  :28

Strain notes that our current overdose epidemic is at least partially due to this new pathway of manufacturing and distributing such drugs, and worries that efforts to intervene are constantly being sidestepped. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.