The drug has been marketed under the name NRG-1, although only a minority of samples of substances sold under this name have been found to actually contain naphyrone, and even samples that proved to contain genuine β-naphyrone were in some cases also found to contain the 1-naphthyl isomer α-naphyrone in varying proportions, further confusing the reported effects profile.
Naphyrone emerged as a new legal high in the United Kingdom only months after the ban of similar drug mephedrone (which was also a cathinone derivative). Until July 2010 the substance was not controlled by the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and was therefore not illegal for someone to possess. The Medicines Act prevented naphyrone from being sold for human consumption, and therefore it was sometimes sold as 'pond cleaner' or as another substance not normally consumed by humans. In response to this emerging trend of new designer drugs, Home Office Minister James Brokenshire said, "action to address the issue of emerging legal highs coming on to the market is a priority for the government."[unreliable source?]
A study by researchers at Liverpool John Moores University found that only one out of ten products labelled as "NRG-1" actually contained naphyrone when they were subjected to laboratory analysis. Compounds found in products labelled NRG-1 included MDPV, flephedrone, mephedrone, butylone and caffeine, one product tested was inorganic in composition. In the case of an individual possessing a product labelled NRG-1 that contains MDPV or other illegal substances, they are in possession of a controlled substance.
Some samples of β-naphyrone sold have also been found to contain the alternative isomer α-naphyrone, presumably produced accidentally as an impurity in synthesis.[failed verification] The in vitro data available in the scientific literature was all obtained using pure β-naphyrone, and the pharmacological properties of α-naphyrone are unknown, further complicating the pharmacological profile of this little-studied designer drug.
^De Paoli G, Maskell PD, Pounder DJ (February 2011). "Naphyrone: analytical profile of the new "legal high" substitute for mephedrone". Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine. 18 (2): 93. doi:10.1016/j.jflm.2010.12.001. PMID21315306.