View attachment 9447 Methylenedioxy-n-ethylamphetamine (MDMA), known on the street as Ecstasy, has been a problem among the club crowd for the last several years. Recently however, there is a new “party” drug that’s becoming more and more popular, this drug is called Benzylpiperazine (BZP).
Benzylpiperazine was first synthesized in 1944 as a potential anti-parasitic agent. It was subsequently shown to possess antidepressant traits and amphetamine-like effects, but was not developed for marketing. In the 1980s the drug showed promise as an antidepressant, but the idea was shelved after testing.
Questions remain over interaction with other controlled substances. Public correspondence via the internet warns of mixing Benzylpiperazine with MDMA and there are no studies that currently point to the effects of mixing Benzylpiperazine with antidepressants, such as Prozac and over-the-counter medicines. In the early 1990’s, the amphetamine-like effects of Benzylpiperazine attracted the attention of drug abusers.
Benzylpiperazine is a Schedule I Controlled Substance that is a Central Nervous System stimulant with effects similar to amphetamine. In most instances, Benzylpiperazine has been found combined with the hallucinogen 3-Trifluoromethylphenylpiperazine (TFMPP). In this form Benzylpiperazine is approximately 10 to 20 times more potent then amphetamine according to the National Drug Information Center.
Benzylpiperazine is often sold as MDMA, or promoted as an alternative to MDMA. Additionally, Benzylpiperazine has been found combined with Methamphetamine, Phencyclidine (PCP), and Dextromethorphan (DXM). Benzylpiperazine is a piperazine derivative which comes as either the hydrochloride salt or a free base. The hydrochloride salt is a white solid, while the base form is a slightly yellowish-green liquid. BZP base is corrosive and causes burns.
In pill form it is difficult visually to differentiate between benzylpiperazine and MDMA. The benzylpiperazine tablets seized thusfar aretypically 70-150 milligrams and come in various colors. The tablets are normallystamped with sometype of logo (i.e., a cartoon character or symbol). These same physical traits are found in seized MDMA tablets. Also there is currently no field test kit available for Benzylpiperazine.
The effects of Benzylpiperazine are similar to those of amphetamines; users report alertness, euphoria and a general feeling of well being. The perception of certain sensations such as taste, color or music may also be subjectively enhanced. The average duration is typically 4-6 hours, with reports of effects lasting as long as 8 hours depending on the dose. Other effects include dilated pupils, nausea, paranoia, enhanced sociability (loss of inhibitions), and jaw clenching. As with MDMA, Benzylpiperazine causes an elevated core body temperature. This reaction can lead to dehydration and stroke in some cases.
The marketing of Benzylpiperazine is directed toward teenagers and young adults. Violators found in possession of Benzylpiperazine, in most instances, are purchasing and selling Benzylpiperazine as MDMA, as the two drugs look identical and have similar effects. The influx of Benzylpiperazine is thought to be the result of the ease in which Benzylpiperazine can be produced and imported into the United States.
In countries like Canada, the raw materials can be purchased from various chemical supply agencies and formed into tablets or capsules using relatively cheap production techniques. The resulting product can be marketed at extremely high markup, so end-user prices can be as high as 300 times the bulk cost of the raw ingredients. Therefore, it is a cost effective alternative to MDMA.
Recently, there has been a seeming explosion in the use of Benzylpiperazine in the United States. Unfortunately, due to the lack of regulation from other countries, it appears that Benzylpiperazine is here to stay. Only diligence on the part of law enforcement nation wide will keep the abuse of this drug in check.
For more information on BZP, contact Det. Billy Reed, Pine Bluff Police Department, Vice and Narcotics Division at 870-543-5119.
Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee News / Oct.-Nov.-Dec. 2008
Contributed by Det. Billy Reed, Pine Bluff Police Department
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