The Scientists Hunting Down Designer Drugs
These aren’t your grandad’s pharmacists. Amid the spike in dangerous custom-made narcotics over the last decade, a specialized laboratory in San Francisco hopes to predict new trends in designer drugs and avoid mass overdoses by collecting samples. Teaming up with the Drug Enforcement Administration, researchers there spend their days carefully synthesizing compounds and storing them in a “prophetic library,” as well as scouring online message boards for clues. They’ve started taking a more clinical approach by building a broader network for medical reference — but defeating designer drugs is still a gargantuan task.