“Research Chemicals”: Tryptamine and Phenethylamine Use Among High-Risk Youth

“Research Chemicals”: Tryptamine and Phenethylamine Use Among High-Risk Youth
Rate this post

Tryptamines and phenethylamines are two broad categories of psychoactive substances with a long history of licit and illicit use. Profiles of users of recently emerging tryptamines and phenethylamines are nonexistent, however, since surveillance studies do not query the use of these substances. This manuscript describes the types, modes of administration, onset of use, and context of use of a variety of lesser known tryptamines and phenethylamines among a sample of high-risk youth. Findings are based upon in-depth interviews with 42 youth recruited in public settings in Los Angles during 2005 and 2006 as part of larger study examining health risks associated with injecting ketamine. Youth reported that their use of tryptamines and phenethylamines was infrequent, spontaneous, and predominately occurred at music venues, such as festivals, concerts, or raves. Several purchased a variety of these “research chemicals” from the Internet and used them in private locations. While many described positive experiences, reports of short-term negative health outcomes included nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, disorientations, and frightening hallucinations. These findings, based upon pilot study data, move toward an epidemiology of tryptamine and phenethylamine use among high-risk youth.

“Research Chemicals”: Tryptamine and Phenethylamine Use Among High-Risk Youth

Keywords: hallucinogen, high-risk youth, injection drug user, phenethylamine, tryptamine

Tryptamines and phenethylamines are two broad categories of psychoactive substances that produce a range of hallucinogenic effects. More commonly known tryptamines, such as LSD, Ibogaine, and psilocybin (“magic mushrooms”), and ordinary phenethylamines, including mescaline and MDMA (“ecstasy”), have been widely researched (see Griffiths, Richards, McCann, and Jesse, 2006; ). However, little is known about less common tryptamines, such as DMT, AMT, and 5-MEO-DiPT (“Foxy”), or phenethylamines, such as 2C-B (“Nexus”), 2C-E, and 2C-T-7 (“Blue Mystic”). This study describes the types and contexts of use among these lesser known tryptamines and phenethylamines among a sample of high-risk youth.

Tryptamines and phenethylamines have a long history of licit use for spiritual and medicinal purposes and illicit use for recreational purposes (; cf. ). More recently, tryptamines and phenethylamines, such as DMT, 2C-B, and 5-MEO-DIPT have been consumed by young people in club and rave environments (; cf. ), and traces of these substances have been found in pills sold as “ecstasy” in the United States, the UK, and elsewhere (Australian Bureau of Criminal Intelligence [ABCI], 2002; ; Drug Enforcement Administration [DEA], 2003, ; Winstock, Wolff, and Ramsey, 2001). The Internet has also facilitated the illicit use of tryptamines and phenethylamines in recent years. Various Web sites now offer information about where to find plants that naturally contain a tryptamine or phenethylamine and how to extract these drugs from plants (see ). Tryptamines and phenethylamines can be ordered over the Internet through companies selling them as “research chemicals” (; cf. Halpern and Pope, 2001; Kikura-Hanajiri, Hayashi, Saisho, and Goda, 2005). “Research Chemicals”: Tryptamine and Phenethylamine Use Among High-Risk Youth

Despite increased access at raves and on the Internet, tryptamines and phenethylamines are not included in drug monitoring surveys and, therefore, surveillance data do not exist. A handful of clinical accounts, however, have emerged in recent years, each concerned with individual cases of one type of tryptamine or phenethylamine (e.g., ; Tanaka, Kamata, Katagi, Tsuchihashi, and Honda, 2006; Wilson, McGeorge, Smolinske, and Meatherall, 2005). Moreover, international concern over tryptamines and phenethylamines has increased. In Great Britain, for instance, most tryptamines and phenethylamines were outlawed in 2002 and are now considered Class A (Schedule I) substances (see ). In the United States, the DEA classified some tryptamines and phenethylamines as Schedule I substances but not others. For instance, while it remains illegal to possess DMT or 2C-B, possession of their chemical cousins, 5-MeO-DMT or 2C-I, continues to be legal. Under the Analogue Statue of the Controlled Substance Act, however, it is illegal to traffic any substances chemically analogous to scheduled tryptamines and phenethylamines. Due to the increasing availability of these substances on the Internet, the DEA launched Operation Web Tryp in 2004, which targets individuals and companies illegally selling tryptamines and phenethylamines. Despite the increasing restrictions on access and manufacture, many of the tryptamines and phenethylamines discussed here remain legal to use and posses.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.