Drug sleuthing in Ann Arbor

Pre-workout supplement, Craze, found to contain methamphetamine analog

Voice Correspondent

photo of Craze powder a drink mix found to contain methamphetamine analogAbout two miles north of WCC on Dixboro Road is a company called NSF International. It is in the business of testing and certifying consumables and the equipment used to deliver them. Recently this has also involved testing health supplements.

John Travis is an analytical chemist at NSF. In October he published a research paper showing that the product Craze, advertized as a pre-workout supplement, contains a methamphetamine analog. The compound he identified appears to be a designer drug – one that is modified in a way that it retains activity, but is harder to detect in a drug screen.

The chemical name for the compound he and his collaborators found is N,α- diethylphenylethylamine, or N,α-DEPEA.

“We actually had been tipped off because some athletes tested positive for a different methamphetamine analog,” said Travis. “It just didn’t make sense how they were testing positive because we couldn’t find any products.”

Craze is produced by Driven Sports. The label lists a compound that is an isomer of N,α-DEPEA. Isomers are compounds that have the same atoms in differing arrangements.

When, Travis first analyzed the product he found a compound with the right molecular weight for the compound on the label. When suspicions caused him to dig deeper, he realized that what he was seeing could not be the isomer listed. Careful studies showed that it was, in fact, N,α-DEPEA.

Finding designer drugs in supplements is a serious concern. The authors noted in their paper, “N,α-DEPEA is a methamphetamine analog; however, its stimulant, addictive and other adverse effects in humans are entirely unknown. Regulatory agencies should act expeditiously to warn consumers and remove N,α-DEPEA from all dietary supplements.”

Driven Sports is still denying that the compound is in their product.


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