MDAI is a new psychoactive substance (NPS) that has structural similarities to MDA and MDMA and shares some of their behavioural properties1,2,7.
Chemical name: 5,6 methylenedioxy-2-aminoindane.
Street/brand names: Sparkle, Mindy, MDAI Gold.
David Nichols and others from Purdue University developed MDAI in the late 1980s/early 1990s for its anti-depressant properties3. Recreational use of MDAI appears to have started in the EU in 2007 with a noticeable increase in the UK in 20097, becoming popular following the ban on mephedrone6. The first report of MDAI to the EMCDDA was made in Sweden in 20095, and in the UK it was analysed in April 2010 by TICTAC Communications9. Availability: There have been at least two occasions of an MDAI ‘drought’. The first supply shortage was in 2011; MDAI appeared back on the market later in the year marketed as MDAI Gold in what was claimed by some vendors to be a different formulation. The second ‘drought’ took place at the beginning of 2014; discussions held with vendors at this time point to the possibility of MDAI production being stopped due to one or more of its precursors being made illegal in China, however this is as yet unconfirmed. It is unclear whether MDAI will re-appear on the market; supply in the UK as of October 2014 is still intermittent, with only the original tan version available.
Appearance: MDAI is sold in powder, capsule or pellet form, and has also been an ingredient in branded products (see below). There have been three versions of MDAI available: a white powder, a tan powder and lastly MDAI Gold, which is a fluffy, slightly crystalline powder with a more ‘sparkly’ look. There was speculation on user forums as to whether this was chemically different than previous formulations; many users reported that it was of better quality than its predecessors.