A pharmaceutical professor at a university in Japan allegedly taught his students to produce the synthetic drug MDMA without a permit, Japanese news outlet Kyodo News reports.
The 61-year-old professor reportedly admitted to the accusation and said he instructed his pharmaceutical students to further their learning back in 2013 despite not having the appropriate licensing to do so.
Under Japanese narcotics laws, researchers require a special license issued by a government body hosting the lab for academic research. The professor had apparently received such a permit but it had expired. Local drug enforcement officials implicated the professor, an assistant professor, and four of his former students who were under his instruction at the time.
"We sincerely apologize for causing major concern to students and their parents," Tatsuya Mizogami, president of the university, told the publication, adding that he will take action to prevent similar instances from happening in the future and will take disciplinary action against the two professors based on the findings of the investigation.
Drug enforcement officials reportedly have been questioning the professor since January after receiving a tip-off. His home and lab were both searched and although MDMA was not found at the lab, traces of another drug were. If found guilty, he could face up to 10 years in jail.
MDMA (3, 4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine) is the main ingredient in the recreational drug ecstasy or Molly. It acts as a stimulant and hallucinogen and produces a heightened sense of energy, pleasure, and, well, ecstasy. The drug has been at the center of recent studies to understand its impact on the brain in the treatment of several mental health disorders, ranging from post-traumatic stress disorder to social anxiety. Just last year, researchers gave ecstasy to octopuses in the name of science and yes, the results were as sublime as they sound.
The professor was also reportedly manufacturing another “designer drug” known as 5F-QUPIC, also called 5F-PB-22, last year. 5F-QUPIC is a synthetic designer drug that produces cannabis-like effects and first emerged in 2013 before being banned in Japan in 2014.
[H/T: Kyodo News]