This report includes cause and manner of death data for 22 postmortem cases, with further analysis of authentic human specimens revealing the presence of three eutylone metabolites, including one unique biomarker and one metabolite in common with butylone.
Synthetic stimulants are the largest class of novel psychoactive substances identified each year by forensic laboratories internationally. Although hundreds of these drugs appear in drug powders, only a few proliferate in use among forensically relevant populations and eventually emerge in postmortem and clinical investigations. Beta-keto-methylenedioxyamphetamines (i.e., novel psychoactive substances with names ending in “ylone”) are currently the most popular subclass of synthetic stimulants. Leading up to its federal scheduling in 2018, N-ethyl pentylone was the most encountered synthetic stimulant. The popularity of N-ethyl pentylone declined once it was scheduled, but it was quickly replaced by eutylone (bk-EBDB), a structurally related analog from the same family. In cases encountered between January 2019 and April 2020, eutylone was quantitatively confirmed in 83 forensic investigations, including postmortem cases and cases of driving under the influence of drugs. Matrix types included blood, urine, and tissue. Eutylone was identified in cases submitted from 13 states, demonstrating proliferation around the United States; Florida accounted for 60 percent of the positive cases. The mean concentration of eutylone in postmortem blood was 1,020 ng/mL (standard deviation = ±2,242 ng/mL; median = 110 ng/mL, range = 1.2–11,000 ng/mL, n = 67). The mean concentration of eutylone in blood from driving under the influence of drugs cases was 942 ng/mL (standard deviation = ±1,407 ng/mL; median = 140 ng/mL, range = 17–3,600 ng/mL, n = 7). Laboratories should be aware that eutylone may be present in cases of suspected Ecstasy, “Molly” and/or methylenedioxymethamphetamine use, causing or contributing to impairment or death. (publisher abstract modified)