A new designer drug unapproved for sale in the U.S. was intercepted for the first time in Philadelphia at the International Airport, according to a release from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
The international parcel shipped from the United Kingdom and bound for Hollis Center, Maine was initially discovered Feb. 23, but the FDA did not finish testing and confirm its contents until March 14. It contained 63 grams of white, powdery methoxetamine in three zip lock baggies, each labeled “Not for Human Consumption,” officials said.
“Experimenting with misbranded synthetic pharmaceuticals can be extremely dangerous, and is a classic case of caveat emptor, buyer beware. There have already been an unacceptable number of reported deaths in our communities from designer drug overdoses,” CBP Port Director for the Philadelphia area Allan Martocci said in a release.
Methoxetamine, also known as “M-Ket,” “Kmax” and “Mexxy,” is a synthetic derivative of the animal tranquilizer and recreational drug Ketamine, officials said. It is illegal under the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, which states a new drug may not be sold in the country without an FDA-approved application.
Methoxetamine was first identified by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction in 2010. The agency identified 72 websites selling the drug as of July 2011, making it the fifth most frequently-identified new “legal high” in the U.K., according to a report released in November. Many of the web vendors offer worldwide delivery, the report said.
The U.K.’s Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs is currently considering whether to make methoxetamine a controlled substance and will decide by April 2.
There have been only six reported methoxetamine seizures in the U.S. by Customs and Border Protection Officials, which took place in Chicago and Houston, officials said.