Volume 41, Issue 3 (May 1996)
The Detection of a Metabolite of α-Benzyl-N-methylphenethylamine Synthesis in a Mixed Drug Fatality Involving Methamphetamine
A 37-year-old, white male collapsed at his home following a party. He reportedly had a history of unspecified cardiac arrhythmia. The ambulance crew found him unresponsive and an ECG revealed ventricular tachycardia/fibrillation. Following one hour of resuscitative efforts in the ambulance and emergency room of a local hospital, he was pronounced dead. An antemortem urine toxicology screen performed at the hospital was “positive” for benzodiazepines, cocaine and amphetamine/methamphetamine. At autopsy, there was generalized organ congestion with no evidence of trauma or other significant pathology except mild, left ventricular hypertrophy. Quantitation by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) of methamphetamine in bile, blood, urine and gastric contents yielded 21.7, 0.7, 32.0 and 2.9 mg/L, respectively. Liver and brain contained 2.2 and 2.7 mg/kg, respectively. A trace amount of p-OH-α-benzyl-N-methylphenethylamine (p-OH-BNMPA), a metabolite of α-benzyl-N-methylphenethylamine (BNMPA), an impurity of illicit methamphetamine synthesis, was also detected in the urine. Since these impurities can be characteristic of a particular synthetic method, their presence in seized samples or their detection in biological samples from methamphetamine users can further be used to monitor the sales of precursor chemicals, group seized compounds to common sources of illicit production or provide links between manufacturers, dealers and users.