Nova Scotia

Research chemicals sometimes used for date rape and getting high, police say

Companies that distribute research chemicals often say they are marketing them to researchers. However, law enforcement says some are being used for darker purposes, including sexual assault.

Buying designer drugs over the internet is playing 'Russian roulette' with your life, DEA says

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says some research chemicals being sold over the internet are making their way into the illicit drug market. (istockphoto.com)

For years, police have been on the trail of designer drugs sometimes sold as research chemicals.

Companies that distribute such chemicals often say they are marketing them to researchers. However, some law enforcement agencies say sometimes those chemicals are for darker purposes, including sexual assault.

They're also being used to get high. In Nova Scotia, concerns about research chemicals have been raised after an envelope of white powder was allegedly mailed by reChem, a Kitchener, Ont.-based company, to Michael Thompson, a Hantsport man who died of a drug overdose in March.

RCMP have launched an investigation and none of the allegations against the company have been proven.

Date rape drugs

The issue, experts say, is the makeup of research chemicals is tweaked so they no longer fall under regulations designed to control prescription medications and can be marketed with far less government oversight.

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration spokesman Rusty Payne says etizolam, for instance, is considered a designer drug and has been used as a date rape drug in the United States.

Police are concerned about the safety of designer drugs sold over the internet. 

"When you order ... on the internet or from a local dealer, you don't even know that's what you're really getting," he says.

"You might be getting some sort of knock-off substance, you might be getting something completely different that's been pressed into a pill. You're playing Russian roulette with your life."

ReChem says on its website that its chemicals are for research use and not for human consumption. It said last month it was working to determine how its name was linked to the package sent to Thompson and suggests it may be confused with a similarly named company operating outside Canada.

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