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Keywords:

  • forensic;
  • drug;
  • mephedrone;
  • pyrolysis;
  • analysis;
  • smoke

The ring-substituted cathinone – mephedrone – has gained popularity among recreational drug users over the past several years. It is generally consumed orally or by snorting but reports indicate that it is also ingested by vaporization/inhalation. This study examines the pyrolysis products produced by heating mephedrone under using simulated ‘meth pipe’ conditions. Thirteen pyrolysis products were identified, the major ones being iso-mephedrone, 4-methylpropiophenone, 4-methylphenylacetone, two pyrazine derivatives formed by dimerization of mephedrone, N-methylated mephedrone (N,N,4-trimethylcatinone), two hydroxylated oxidation products and a diketone. Other minor products formed were identified as 4-methylacetophenone, two α-chloro ketones and N-methylated iso-mephedrone. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.