Wed, Jan 07, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Instant beverage powders are laced with drugs: FDA

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday cautioned the public against taking unknown instant beverage powder products from strangers after it found that more than 85 percent of such products tested by police authorities were laced with narcotics.

“None of the 45 samples sent by police in the past three months came from a familiar brand and it is presumed that they were confiscated in raids on nightclubs,” Division of Research and Analysis Director Cheng Hwei-fang (陳惠芳) said.

Chen said 39 of the powders, which ranged from coffee and milk tea to cereal, were found to contain illegal drugs, with 79.2 percent of them being tainted with class three drugs, including ketamine and mephedrone.

“Methylone was discovered in 27.8 percent of the drink powders, followed by mephedrone in 22.2 percent. Both substances are central nervous system stimulants and are categorized as class three drugs, as they can create similar effects to ecstasy and methamphetamine, as well as trigger potentially fatal side effects, such as an abnormally fast heart rate and high blood pressure,” Chen said.

Other discovered substances included the class two drug methylenedioxypyrovalerone, class three drugs nimetazepam and phenazepam, class four drug nitrazepam, as well as five types of smart drugs, including 5-methoxy-N-methyl-N-isopropyltryptamine and m-chlorophenylpiperazine.

The FDA that said the discovery suggested that drug dealers are using prepackaged instant drink powders as a new disguise for selling illegal narcotics.

One of the samples was found to contain six different drugs, it added.

“People are urged not to experiment with drugs out of curiosity or peer pressure. Those who have become addicted are encouraged to voluntarily ask for help from medical institutions designated by the Ministry of Health and Welfare in accordance with Article 21 of the Narcotics Hazard Prevention Act (毒品危害防制條例),” the agency said.

In related news, the Consumers’ Foundation yesterday released the results of random tests on 51 kinds of traditional Chinese medicines it purchased from Chinese herbal medicine stores in Taipei and New Taipei City in September last year.

Pesticide residue was found in 21 samples, while the heavy metal cadmium was found in two.

The foundation urged people to rinse and immerse the medicines in clean water for about 15 to 20 minutes before consuming them, to minimize the amount of pesticide they might ingest.

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