Michael H. Baumann, Ph.D.
Michael H. Baumann, Ph.D., is a staff scientist and facility head at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Intramural Research Program, in Baltimore, MD. Baumann’s research focuses on the role of brain dopamine and serotonin systems in mediating the effects of therapeutic and abused stimulant drugs. In 2012, he joined the laboratory of Amy H. Newman, Ph.D., where he established the Designer Drug Research Unit (DDRU). The main goal of the DDRU is to collect, analyze and disseminate the most up-to-date information about the pharmacology and toxicology of newly-emerging designer drugs of abuse, more formally known as new psychoactive substances (NPS). Working with partner organizations such as the Drug Enforcement Administration, the National Drug Early Warning System, and the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, Baumann is kept informed about recent trends in the abuse of NPS. Most recently, his research has characterized the molecular mechanism of action and pharmacological effects for many of the so-called “bath salts” cathinones and their various replacement analogs.
The Changing Face of Recreational Drug Use
Recent data indicate that 540 different drugs classified as new psychoactive substances (NPS) have been identified worldwide as of 2014, and this number is expected to rise. Our article describes the complexity of the NPS problem, what is known about the molecular mechanisms of action, and highlights some of the considerable challenges in dealing with this emerging issue.