In an article for the journal Nature, David Nichols of Purdue University in Indiana writes he’s “haunted” by the deaths of patients linked to a drug that was based on his research,. In the 1990s, Nichols and others were looking at chemicals like the one used in ecstasy, to find drugs that might treat depression. His work on one chemical, called 4-methylthioamphetamine or MTA, was used to create pills called “flatliners,” linked to at least six deaths. Only recently did Nichols realize how the designer drugs industry drew on his own research, and notes that several synthetic drugs that produce a cannabis-like effect were developed using data from publicly available scientific literature, speaking out against the misuse of this research.
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