Some drugs in this class were originally developed as antidepressants. But a safe, successful formula was never able to be finalized. These are now synthetic stimulants sold as party pills. Drugs from this category may be mixed in with other drugs, such as Ecstasy or bath salts. Drugs in this class include:
- BZP (1-benzylpiperazine) - in the US, the most popular drug in this class
- mCPP - more popular overseas
- TFMPP known chemically as 1-(3-trifluoromethyl-phenyl)piperazine
This class of drug is also so new that there is not a large volume of information on health risks and deaths related to them. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, BZP was identified in four deaths between 2006 and 2010, and two other piperazines added a few more deaths. From being reported in seven states in 2006, the drug was found in almost every state by 2010.
The Health Risks of Piperazines
The European Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction noted the following problems for people abusing these drugs:
- Poor appetite
- Stomach pain and nausea
- Grand mal seizures
Many party pills may contain a combination of these drugs. In that case, the physical risks can be even more severe. In Europe or New Zealand, reports on physical harm included high blood pressure, irregular heart beat, headache, overall sick feeling, toxic psychosis (panic and extreme paranoia) and other problems. The sick feeling and headache that accompany or follow abuse tends to discourage many users from trying these drugs a second time.
Like the other synthetics, this drug can bring about the muscle tissue breakdown called rhabdomyolysis and kidney failure. BZP has also been documented as causing “status elepticus,” or a state of constant seizure that can be fatal.
A 17-year-old boy suffered kidney breakdown after one use of BZP with a small amount of alcohol. In Sweden, another 17-year-old boy died after using BZP with other drugs when he fell through a roof.
It is also noted that circulatory collapse may occur because of the hyperthermia (increased body temperature) that often accompanies the use of these drugs in a party of dance environment.
Medical science and law enforcement bodies have not yet been able to accumulate adequate information on the exact health risks associated with use of these drugs. Any person who uses them may be taking his (or her) life in his hands.
It is both alarming and sad that these dangerous drugs are targeted mostly at youth and young adults who want to have a good time. Young people who choose to abuse drugs can wind up causing themselves severe harm or permanent impairment to their health. It is important for parents to explain the dangers of all drugs. In particular, synthetics must be discussed because young people may reach for these drugs after they are told that many of them will not show up on a drug test.
When a person of any age is using these drugs and can’t stop of his (or her) own free will, the family should ensure that he finds an effective drug rehabilitation program. This action could save his life. The Narconon program has been saving addicted lives for almost 50 years. We can help when you need it most.
- Medical Toxicology of Drug Abuse: Synthesized Chemicals and Psychoactive Plants, by Donald G. Barceloux, John WIley & Sons. Page 10