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Behind the scenes: A rumor about opiates and pangolin scales is debunked

Scientists at the National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory in Ashland, Oregon recently investigated a claim about pangolin scales—that they contain tramadol, an opiate used for pain relief that, like all opiates, has the potential for abuse. Concerned by the rumors and inquiries by law enforcement, the forensic team decided to do a chemical analysis to look for the presence of tramadol in several samples of pangolin scales. The results showed there was no presence of the chemicals. Pangolins are believed to be the most trafficked mammals in the world, and across Asia and Africa their populations are dwindling. The demand for their scales stems from the belief that they have medicinal benefits. Read "Pangolin scales are not a party drug, say researchers."
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