Members of the Manchester Centre for the Study of Legal Highs (MCSLH) are endeavouring to understand the chemical, physical and biological properties and behaviour of “legal highs” (such as mephedrone and its derivatives) using a variety of laboratory-based instrumental techniques. A team based in the Faculty of Science and Engineering is identifying the different ingredients found in new and emerging “legal highs” and improvement of chromatographic methods for their detection/quantification. In addition, they are also interested in developing simple, rapid detection tests, which could be applied by law-enforcement or medical professionals in the field.

In collaboration with Professor Niamh Nic Daeid at the Centre for Forensic Science (University of Strathclyde) the team has developed the first pure reference standard and reliable liquid chromatographic test for mephedrone and applied Isotopic Ratio Mass Spectrometry (IRMS) to connect samples of mephedrone to a particular precursor – potentially providing information on the source of the illicit substance.

For more information contact Oliver Sutcliffe (

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