Meperidine: History notes

Last modified: Sunday, 31. May 2009 - 5:22 pm

In the early 1980s, a form of designer meperidine, known as MPPP, was being illegally manufactured. MPPP was also referred to as “synthetic heroin.” In some cases, the chemical technique was not precise, and a toxic chemical byproduct, MPTP, was produced. MPTP is a known industrial toxin that can destroy nerve cells in certain portions of the brain
People ingesting this contaminated form of MPPP began exhibiting symptoms of Parkinson disease — rigidity of the muscles with uncontrollable twitching. The neurological damage caused by MPTP appears to be permanent. These cases were instrumental in initiating passage of the so-called Analogue Drug Laws. Prior to that time, someone who manufactured a novel (new) drug in an illegal lab could possibly evade some DEA regulations if the drug’s specific chemical formula was not listed under the Schedule of Controlled Substances.
The Analogue Drug Laws were passed to cover drugs created with the intent of producing effects similar to a drug already listed under the Schedule of Controlled Substances. The “designer meperidine” cases provided a good example of why designer drugs can be the most dangerous.

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