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04 May 2015

INTERPOL issues global alert for potentially lethal illicit diet drug

LYON, France – A global alert has been issued by INTERPOL for 2.4-dinitrophenol (DNP), an illicit and potentially lethal drug used as a dieting and body-building aid.

The Orange Notice warning about DNP, which is also used as a raw material for explosives, was published after one woman died in the UK and a French man was left seriously ill after taking the substance.

Under its anti-doping project, INTERPOL collaborated with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and received additional information from the global anti-doping organization after one of the WADA-accredited laboratories received a sample of the drug following a seizure in Australia.

Issued at the request of the French Ministry of the Interior’s Central Office for the Protection of the Environment and Public Health (OCLAESP - Office central de lutte contre les atteintes à l’environnement et à la santé publique), the alert has been circulated to law enforcement in all 190 member countries, and a public version has also been made available to help raise awareness.

Although usually sold in yellow powder or capsule form, DNP is also available as a cream. Besides the intrinsic dangers of DNP, the risks associated with its use are magnified by illegal manufacturing conditions.

In addition to being produced in clandestine laboratories with no hygiene regulations, without specialist manufacturing knowledge the producers also expose consumers to an increased chance of overdose.

In the 1930s DNP was used to boost metabolism and encourage weight loss, but it was taken out of circulation because of several deaths.

“We are appreciative that INTERPOL has issued this global warning on DNP. This is a perfect example of how crucial it is that law enforcement and anti-doping organizations continue to forge closer ties so that dangerous, and potentially fatal, substances such as DNP do not reach the hands of athletes,” said WADA Director General, David Howman.

As part of its close ties with WADA, and in cooperation with specialised national police and customs officers, INTERPOL’s anti-doping unit deals with both doping of high-level athletes, and the production and supply of banned performance enhancing drugs on the black market.

Each year INTERPOL coordinates Operation Pangea, an international week of action tackling the online sale of counterfeit and illicit medicines and highlighting the dangers of buying medicines online.

Bringing together customs, health regulators, national police and the private sector from countries around the world, key activities target the principal components used by illegal websites to conduct their trade – the Internet Service Provider (ISP), payment systems and the delivery service.