Saturday 7 December 2019

College withdraws 'Breaking Bad' drug instruction manual

Actors Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul portraying Walter White and Jesse Pinkman in the hit American television series Breaking Bad.
Actors Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul portraying Walter White and Jesse Pinkman in the hit American television series Breaking Bad.

Brian Byrne

STEP-by-step instructions on how to produce an illegal drug from household items were distributed to third level students in a State-funded publication.

The instructions included recommendations on the best everyday items to use to produce the euphoria-inducing drug mephedrone, which has been illegal in Ireland since 2010.

They were featured on the cover of the Trinity Student Medical Journal (TSMJ) at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and discussed in full in a seven-page essay.

However, the college said the journal was withdrawn because the "experimental methods were inaccurately reported".

The journal was published by the TSMJ committee, which consists of 42 students at the TCD School of Medicine including editors, directors and production staff, according to 'Trinity News'.

The journal has been released on an annual basis for 14 years and is funded by a number of bodies including the Radiology Department at St James's Hospital.

It's understood up to 1,000 copies of the journal were produced. However, the journal was later recalled following an order from the TCD School of Medicine.

The instructions were part of an essay entitled 'Inspiration from Breaking Bad: The synthesis of mephedrone from legally-acquired domestic substances' and written by two students from the School of Medicine.

It claimed to draw inspiration from the TV programme 'Breaking Bad' in which a chemistry teacher begins producing metham- phetamene after he discovers he has terminal cancer.

The students claimed to produce the drug under the supervision of a toxicologist in the Discipline of Pharmacology and Therapeutics at St James's Hospital, which is standard procedure for such research.

A spokesperson said: "The TSMJ editorial board would like to make clear that the article was included to highlight the important public health issue of illegal drug manufacture by dangerous methods that generate potentially lethal and uncharacterised products."

A TCD spokesperson said that no academic staff member was involved in the editorial decisions of the TSMJ.

Irish Independent

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