Annually, the NIPH analyses about 5000 blood samples received from the police with regards to intoxicant and narcotic use. Most of these samples are taken where there is suspicion of driving under the influence. These samples correspond well with seizures made by Customs and the police and thus give a good indication of the intoxicants that are circulating in Norway.
A pilot project was conducted to map out the extent of use based on drug seizures and suspected use of Spice in the drug community in Norway. The pilot project lasted for three weeks from mid November 2011, and a total of 320 blood samples were analysed. All blood samples that the police had requested to be tested for drugs / intoxicating drugs were analysed for a wide range of Spice variants in addition to the NIPH’s standard analysis program.
Spice was detected in 11 blood samples, i.e. in about 3 per cent of the samples that were analysed. Liliana Bachs from the Division of Forensic Toxicology and Drug Abuse Research at the NIPH said that this was more than expected.
“Spice works in the same way as regular cannabis but seems to show a far more powerful effect. We will continue to look for such new, potentially dangerous substances, and hope that the incidence declines,” says Bachs.
The 11 positive samples came from police districts in five different counties in eastern, western and northern Norway so there is reason to believe that Spice is circulating in the drug community. Six different spice variants were detected, indicating that there are many different types in use. In all of the positive samples, other intoxicating substances were also present, including different benzodiazepines, amphetamines and cannabis.