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UK government moves Ethylphenidate to Class B

In a move which will probably not surprise anyone, the UK government has formally stated that it will make ethylphenidate and its related compounds class B drugs. Ethylphenidate gained popularity both as a smart drug used by some students and as a recreational stimulant and is closely related to methylphenidate (ritalin) but has a reduced potency and shorter duration.

Ethylphenidate research chemical packaging
When ethylphenidate was sold legally it was commonly sold “for research purposes only” to avoid medicines legislation.

The ban follows the advice of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), whose role is to perform detailed research into issues relating to drugs for the UK government so that it can make informed decisions about drug policy. The ACMD has done extensive research on ethylphenidate and its analogues, with multiple comments released about their prevalence and harms and on 10th April 2015 it recommended that ethylphenidate should be subject to a “Temporary Class Drug Order” (TCDO), which criminalises import and sale but not possession. The ACMD struggled to find detailed information about the group of compounds and remarked in June 2016 that the TCDO had been very successful in reducing use and that more time was needed for a good decision.

Their research continued until 10th March 2017, when they released their final report recommending the group of compounds should all become Class B substances. This was accompanied by one of their typically detailed research reports, again representing possibly the best collection of knowledge about the compounds that currently exists. The report includes detailed information about the drugs’ activity levels in the brain as well as details about the legal situations in other countries:

Ethylphenidate is controlled in China, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden and Turkey. It is also classified under analogue scheduling in the US and Australia.

As well as ethylphenidate, a number of less popular analogues were also covered, perhaps the most interesting being 4-fluoromethylphenidate which was reported to be more potent and be much less compulsive.

The change in the law will come into force on the 31st May and cover the substances listed below. Class B offences could result in up to 5 years for possession or up to 14 years for supply.

 

Common Name Classification
N-Benzyl-ethylphenidate Illegal (UK Class B)
Ethylnaphthidate Illegal (UK Class B)
Ethylphenidate (EPH or EPD) Illegal (UK Class B)
Isopropylphenidate (IPP or IPPH) Illegal (UK Class B)
Methylmorphenate Illegal (UK Class B)
Methylnaphthidate (HDMP-28) Illegal (UK Class B)
Propylphenidate Illegal (UK Class B)
3,4-Dichloroethylphenidate Illegal (UK Class B)
3,4-Dichloromethylphenidate
(3,4-DCMP)
Illegal (UK Class B)
4-Fluoroethylphenidate Illegal (UK Class B)
4-Fluoromethylphenidate Illegal (UK Class B)
4-Methylmethylphenidate (4-MMPH) Illegal (UK Class B)
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UK Government Fully Bans Etizolam and U‑47700

Following advice from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), the Home Office has moved to ban a range of designer sedatives including etizolam, which has gained wide popularity for self-medication of anxiety and the compound U-47700, an opioid which has frightened US media and displayed issues of chemical damage to tissues of very heavy users. You can see our test results for U-47700 here and here.

Reaction of U-47700 with the mandelin reagent

The ACMD’s role is to perform detailed research into issues relating to drugs for the UK government so that it can make informed decisions about drug policy.  On 20 December 2016 it published two of its typically detailed overviews, one dedicated to U-47700 and one on the novel benzodiazepines. These detail various aspects of the drugs usage and distribution patterns and the research allow the ACMD to make recommendations on scheduling.

Although the novel substance market has been all but wiped out by the Psychoactive Substances Act, (which renders anything “psychoactive” illegal to sell or import) Police Scotland has reported that etizolam is being sold as “valium” by street dealers. Benzodiazepines may be used to self medicate anxiety disorders, or recreationally for relaxation and carry significant risk of addiction and dependence, with withdrawals for heavy users potentially being severe enough to be fatal. Police Scotland also reported that there had been an increase in deaths involving etizolam and an 8x increase in people found driving under the influence of the drug since 2015.

The Home Office decided to move directly to full scheduling instead of temporary scheduling as recommended by the ACMD, and on 3rd May 2017, the full legislation was published, to be enforced from 31st May 2017.

This means that etizolam is illegal in the UK as a class C drug with up to 2 years for possession, and U-47700 is illegal in the UK as a Class A drug with up to 7 years for possession.

In a change from constructing a time consuming “blanket ban”, the ACMD also recommended scheduling a long list of other compounds in the same class by their specific names, listed below:

Common Name Classification Chemical name
Adinazolam Illegal (UK Class C) 1-(8-Chloro-6-phenyl-4H-[1,2,4]triazolo[4,3-a][1,4]benzodiazepin-1-yl)-N,N-dimethylmethanamine
Bromazolam Illegal (UK Class C) 8-bromo-1-methyl-6-phenyl-4H-[1,2,4]triazolo[4,3-a][1,4]benzodiazepine
4’-Chlorodiazepam Illegal (UK Class C) 7-Chloro-5-(4-chlorophenyl)-1-methyl-1,3-dihydro-2H-1,4-benzodiazepin-2-one
Clonazolam Illegal (UK Class C) 6-(2-Chlorophenyl)-1-methyl-8-nitro-4H-[1,2,4]triazolo[4,3-a][1,4] benzodiazepine
Deschloroetizolam Illegal (UK Class C) 2-Ethyl-9-methyl-4-phenyl-6H-thieno[3,2-f][1,2,4]triazolo[4,3-a][1,4] diazepine
Diclazepam Illegal (UK Class C) 7-Chloro-5-(2-chlorophenyl)-1-methyl-1,3-dihydro-2H-1,4-benzodiazepin-2-one
Etizolam Illegal (UK Class C) 4-(2-Chlorophenyl)-2-ethyl-9-methyl-6H-thieno[3,2-f][1,2,4]triazolo[4,3-a][1,4]diazepine
Flubromazepam Illegal (UK Class C) 7-Bromo-5-(2-fluorophenyl)-1,3-dihydro-2H-1,4-benzodiazepin-2-one
Flubromazolam Illegal (UK Class C) 8-Bromo-6-(2-fluorophenyl)-1-methyl-4H-[1,2,4]triazolo[4,3-a][1,4] benzodiazepine
Fonazepam Illegal (UK Class C) 5-(2-Fluorophenyl)-7-nitro-1,3-dihydro-2H-1,4-benzodiazepin-2-one
3-Hydroxyphenazepam Illegal (UK Class C) 7-Bromo-5-(2-chlorophenyl)-3-hydroxy-1,3-dihydro-2H-1,4-benzodiazepin-2-one
Meclonazepam Illegal (UK Class C) 5-(2-Chlorophenyl)-3-methyl-7-nitro-1,3-dihydro-2H-1,4-benzodiazepin-2-one
Metizolam Illegal (UK Class C) 4-(2-Chlorophenyl)-2-ethyl-6H-thieno[3,2-f][1,2,4]triazolo[4,3-a][1,4]diazepine
Nifoxipam Illegal (UK Class C) 5-(2-Fluorophenyl)-3-hydroxy-7-nitro-1,3-dihydro-2H-1,4-benzodiazepin-2-one
Nitrazolam Illegal (UK Class C) 1-Methyl-8-nitro-6-phenyl-4H-[1,2,4]triazolo[4,3-a][1,4]benzodiazepine
Pyrazolam Illegal (UK Class C) 8-Bromo-1-methyl-6-(2-pyridinyl)-4H-[1,2,4]triazolo[4,3-a][1,4]benzodiazepine
U-47700 Illegal (UK Class A) 3,4-dichloro-N-[2-(dimethylamino)cyclohexyl]-N-methylbenzamide

If you do use U-47700 then you can buy tests to help detect mis-selling in our shop. The most suitable setup is the MDMA & Cocaine Testing multipack.

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Warning: Mitsubishi Ecstasy Adulterated with “a-PVP”

The Mitsubishi print is one of the most well known presses of ecstasy tablet, dating back to the 1990s when MDMA first became popular. Many batches of the tablets have been produced over the years in varying quality but generally at the lower end of the spectrum because sophisticated manufacturers do not want their products tainted by the hit-and-miss reputation of the logo.

This year brings nothing different, and the Spanish testing service, Energy Control, have detected a green mitsubishi pill which contains a cathinone stimulant called a-PVP with no trace of MDMA. This is easily detected with reagent tests as a-PVP gives no colour change for the reagents in the MDMA test multipack whereas MDMA goes black with all three.

a-PVP* is a stimulant and does give energy like MDMA but the comparisons pretty much stop there. It is most similar to cocaine but has a much longer uncomfortable “tail” after the main high ends and a much higher chance of causing paranoia. The lack of enjoyable effects can easily lead to people taking a couple because they’re getting something and think it’s just a weak pill but this can result in sleep being prevented for much longer than MDMA would, and this sleep deprivation can further feed into the risk of paranoia and psychosis.

You can see the image Energy Control provided below. The tablet is 4.9mm thick and 9.9mm wide with a mass of 422 mg. The amount of a-PVP inside is not known.

You can see the original post by Energy Control in Spanish here.

This is a great reason why trying to determine what’s in a pill by asking if people have taken one with the same design is really never a good idea. a-PVP may not be common but counterfeiting is rife and it only takes a couple of months for fakes to emerge – this is why pill logos change so often, so that sophisticated manufacturers don’t have their reputations hurt by dodgy bedroom presses.

*a-PVP is sometimes called “flakka” by american media but this appears to have been made up by the media and has also been used to describe other stimulants.

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TWO batches of ecstasy containing lethal PMMA detected in Europe

PMMA is a chemical compound similar to MDMA but with some crucial differences. It completely prevents the body from regulating serotonin levels* and as a result, creates a high risk of fatal overheating. As if that wasn’t bad enough, it takes a long time to kick in, so people who think they are taking MDMA may take more as the slight effects lead them to think they just have weak pills.

The possibly lethal ecstasy tablets

The potentially lethal ecstasy tablets

PMMA is easily detected with the froehde and mandelin reagent tests, but people can’t detect it if they don’t test!

PMMA has been responsible for a number of deaths over the years but it typically only shows up in very isolated batches. Unusually, TWO separate batches have been identified in the last few days, leading Dutch authorities to launch a warning campaign to keep people safe.

The pills concerned are pink superman pills and red ferarri pills, both pictured below.

The pink superman pills are reported to have the superman logo on both sides, with an appearance similar to the batch that killed 4 people in the space of 2 weeks at the end of 2014. It only contains PMMA and the dosage in a single pill could be lethal.

Pink Superman PMMA ecstasy pill
Pink Superman Ecstasy

The Red Ferarri pill is a new press which is being sold online as containing “200+ mg of MDMA”. It was detected by EcstasyData and was purchased in Germany. It only contains PMMA.

Red Ferrari PMMA ecstasy pill

Red Ferrari Ecstasy

When tested with reagent tests these pills will give the following colours:

PMMA Reagent Reaction Table

The MDMA testing multipack is our best selling selection and contains 30 tests of the marquis, mecke and froehde reagents. A test takes 60 seconds to carry out and could prevent a ruined night out – or worse. If your result is inconclusive, don’t risk it!

If you can’t test for some reason, you must at least #CrushDabWait, but using your body to test if something is dangerous is obviously still very dangerous!


* Interested in the sciency bit? PMMA is a strong inhibitor of the enzyme “Monoamine Oxidase”and a serotonin releasing agent. When MDMA releases serotonin this enzyme breaks down some of it to keep levels in check and reduce the chance of overheating (but high doses can still override this of course).

With PMMA, serotonin is released but it has nowhere to go since the enzyme has been completely deactivated. This means that levels build continuously and the very high levels of serotonin lead to something called “Serotonin Syndrome”. This is where serotonin prevents normal regulation of temperature, and coupled with the stimulation from the drugs, the body goes into overdrive and overheats.

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Beige heisenberg ecstasy pill warning

Edit: We have also detected purple and pink Heisenberg pills with pentylone in them. Avoiding this press completely is recommended.

The beige Heisenberg tablets currently available contain NO MDMA but instead contain pentylone, a synthetic cathinone stimulant.

The pills will react bright yellow with the marquis reagent, whereas MDMA goes black so these ones are easy to spot as rubbish.

Pentylone is slightly like mephedrone but lasts longer and is much less enjoyable.
Because it is less enjoyable but does have an effect, people tend to think they just have weak pills and need to take more to get the buzz they want. This results in a very high dose of pentylone, which prevents sleep for hours after it wears off, and along with its stimulant effects can cause paranoia and psychosis, as well as totally ruining your night.

small Beige heisenbergs pentylone

Pentylone is class B in the UK.

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Manchester police issue second warning about high strength MDMA tablets

For the second time in two weeks, Manchester police have issued a warning about high strength MDMA pills circulating in manchester after two women in their twenties collapsed early on Saturday morning.

The police say the pills concerned are the “lego brick” tablets and posted the photo on the left. Sadly this is another low quality image which appears to have come from social media! There are currently two DIFFERENT types of lego brick pill on the market so this is a bit of a problem, and the police have not released any analysis of what’s in the pills.
Police lego brick pill imageLego bricks dutch press
With that said, both variations of the pill are professionally pressed, and likely to be very strong. In addition to this, both types are quite new, with the “other” press (pictured below) being listed as over 200mg of MDMA. Again, this is extremely strong, with a typical dose of MDMA being 130mg.

What can we learn from this? It appears to be another case of illness due to large amounts of MDMA in hot environments so:

  • Use the #CrushDabWait technique to avoid a strong pill or powder taking you by surprise.
  • Know your drug – using an MDMA reagent test is a really good warning sign of dodgy pills or powders, especially for £15
  • Know your dose – if you aren’t using #CrushDabWait, make sure you know how much is in the pill, or how much powder you are taking. Scales are cheap, brains are not!
  • Avoid taking other drugs at the same time – this can really complicate things and make it hard to know how much is too much. This includes alcohol – keep it to a couple of drinks.
  • Stay cool – take regular breaks from the dancefloor to cool down for 5 minutes. Have a chat in the smoking area 😉
  • Hydrate sensibly – take sips of cold water, drink a sensible amount for the activity you are doing. MDMA makes you feel constantly thirsty but stops you peeing, so you can “dilute” your blood dangerously.
  • Stay with your friends – they know you, and if you’re looking in a bad way they’ll be able to sort you out and keep you safe.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help – the medics are not the police, will not call the police and are usually incredibly friendly. No matter what, they WILL keep you safe.

 

CheckIt! result for possibly related two-notch lego pill.
Manchester police press release. (Facebook link)
Reddit discussions on 4-notch lego blocks: 1, 2

 

Edit: there is a better photo of the two-notch lego brick pills here

MDMA-team lego brick 2 notch_crop

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Police Issue Warning About Pink Mastercard Ecstasy Tablet

Following the death of a 17 year-old girl in manchester at the weekend, Greater Manchester Police have issued a warning about the “Mastercard” ecstasy believed to be responsible. They have accompanied this with a photo of the affected batch, which do appear to show the popular pills. Accompanied is a professional image from pillreports.net for comparison.

Manchester Police image Mastercard pill test result

These have been analysed by several organisations who report that they contain around 200mg1 of MDMA. A typical single-dose of MDMA for a teenage girl would be under 100mg, which makes these a really strong pill. The police do not comment further on the matter but it seems likely that this is a tragic case of overdose from the extreme strength of the pills, most likely compounded in a hot environment.

You can buy an MDMA test kit here to help inform you about pills and powders, but please always remember to use the #CrushDabWait method when using a new batch, even if you have already tested them. Knowing they are strong or contain something dangerous doesn’t help if people still drop 5 at once!

Police have urged anyone who has taken the pills to seek medical attention, even if they are not under the effects of the drug. This is quite uncommon given that very few drugs can cause fatalities after the effects have worn off, but they have not elaborated on the reason for this advice.




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Mexedrone Reagent Test Kit results

Mexedrone is the only cathinone currently sold legally in the UK. It strays significantly from the traditional structure by having an ether group in the alpha position, which makes it legal and brings the dose to be the same as mephedrone. It is still a stimulant drug, and does seem to have collected some limited popularity among enthusiasts.

It takes the form of some quite attractive white/colourless crystals.

The reagent test kit results are as follows, with the marquis test first, showing fizzing but no colour change.

Mexedrone Marquis colourless

The froehde reagent test gives the same reaction with mexedrone – no colour change.

Mexedrone Froehde reagent colourless

Yet again the liebermann reagent pulls through, giving a bright yellow/orange reaction.

Mexedrone Liebermann yellow orange

Mexedrone results Colour
Marquis test No colour change
Froehde No colour change
Liebermann Orange/yellow
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Dibutylone (bk-DMBDB) reagent test kit reaction results

Dibutylone is a novel cathinone stimulant which appears to be sold as MDMA and mephedrone since butylone has been banned. Based on similar compounds it is likely that it will behave as an “extended release” version of butylone, and be inactive until it passes through the liver. This would make snorting mostly ineffective.

Dibutylone forms attractive crystals and is quite cheap. You can see a picture of the dibutylone tested here below:

Dibutylone sold as mephedrone

You can see the reagent test kit results below. These were kindly submitted to us by a third party who was sold it as mephedrone and verified the sample with WEDINOS (W005102)

Dibutylone results

Dibutylone test results Colour
Marquis Yellow
Mandelin Yellow
Liebermann Orange
Mecke Yellow/Orange
Froehde Greenish Brown

You can see EcstasyData results for dibutylone here:
https://www.ecstasydata.org/view.php?id=3131
https://www.ecstasydata.org/view.php?id=3148
https://www.ecstasydata.org/view.php?id=4124
https://www.ecstasydata.org/view.php?id=4069

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PMA containing ecstasy rumoured to be available in the UK

The Daily Star is reporting that “Chupa Chups” stamped ecstasy tablets with PMA are circulating in the UK.

An anonymous source is reported to have sent the tip-off claiming the pink tablets are stamped with the brand name.

Though red Chupa Chups tablets have been circulating for some time, a recent round, pink chupa chup pill has also recently surfaced and has had a questionable reputation from the get-go.
Pictured below, courtesy of pillreports.net, the submitter suspects the contents are MDxx + PMA/PMMA.

pink Chupa chup ecstasy pill with PMA
An image of the suspected PMA containing pills.

The more popular red Chupa Chups pills have contained MDMA for some time and have a “flower” style outline with a stylised Chupa Chups logo. Users are being urged to exercise extra caution until more information is known – uncorroborated tabloid rumors can turn out to be just that, but for the cost of a few pills it might be worth picking up an MDMA testing kit just in case, regardless of the pill logo.

If you do find yourself taking a pill without testing it first, remember to #CrushDabWait – this will reduce the risks no matter what’s in it, be it strong MDMA or PMA.

Dutch Chupa Chups Ecstasy
The more well known brand of Chupa Chups pill

Sources:
http://www.mixmag.net/read/dangerous-chupa-chups-pills-are-circulating-the-uk-news/
http://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/503749/Lethal-ecstasy-pills-Chupa-Chups-logo-flood-Britain-unsafe-illegal-drugs-MDMA-PMA