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Type Psychoactive
Legal Status Class C
BZP is a central nervous system stimulant causing effects similar to that of amphetamine by stimulating the release of dopamine and norepinephrine and inhibiting the uptake of dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin. A Piperazine analogue typically used as an alternative to MDMA or amphetamines. Piperazines are a broad class of chemical compounds. BZP is a derivative of piperazine which comes as either hydrochloride salt or free Base liquid. The hydrochloride salt is a white solid while the base form is a slightly yellowish-green liquid. The base form is corrosive and can cause burns. Piperazines are also used in the manufacture of plastics, resins, pesticides, brake fluid and other industrial materials. BZP is a Stimulant so has effects similar to amphetamine and Ecstasy; effects can last between 4 to 8 hours. Thought to have been originally developed in the 1950's as an anti-parasitic drug for use in farm animals, but was abandoned as a worm treatment due to side effects. There are no current medical uses. BZP is a CNS stimulant similar to the effects experienced by amphetamine or ecstasy users. Dopamine and norepinephrine release is stimulated following administration, with conflicting reports as to the action of serotonin following administration – it is commonly believed to cause serotonin toxicity however some reports suggest serotonin inhibition. Cases appear to resemble the former, as there have been deaths following co-ingestion with MDMA. IV injection of BZP has been reported, however due to the chemical’s strong alkalinity (pH > 12) it has been reported as painful but with faster onset of action.
1. Users with pre-existing heart, circulatory or blood pressure problems should avoid the use of piperazines, as they may be more susceptible to cardiac toxicity. 2. Concomitant anti-depressant use increases the risk of developing a severe condition named serotonin syndrome, whereby multiple effects, including coma and a significant raise in body temperature can occur. Co-administration of piperazines with anti-depressants is therefore discouraged to decrease the risk of this occurring. 3. Users with significantly worsening symptoms, particularly experiencing chest pain, elevated temperature, agitation or convulsions should attend hospital urgently for investigations. 4. Onset of effects may be delayed for up to 2 hours. This may mislead users into taking further doses to achieve the anticipated effects – however this substantially increases the risk of overdosage and is strongly discouraged. 5. Effects may last between 4 and 8 hours, with grand mal seizures reported up to 8 hours following administration. Seizures occur in approximately 18% of hospitalized patients based on a 2005 study(Gee P1, Richardson S, Woltersdorf W, Moore G).
Addiction Potential
BZP has the potential for psychological dependency and mental health problems.
Short Term Effects
Symptoms often resemble that of amphetamine compounds;however it has been suggested to have lower potency, a report stating possibly as far as one tenth as potent as s-amphetamine(1). Caution should be used following administration as purity of batches will differ with region & preparation and may be varied in potency. Symptoms may include: euphoria, increased alertness, intensified emotions and boosted self-esteem.Further effects include: a racing heartbeat, hallucinations, palpitations, chest pain, agitation, headache, nausea, tremor/shaking, urine retention and elevated blood pressure. Anxiety, dizziness, panic attacks, teeth grinding, muscle twitching, poor concentration, confusion, disorientation, acute psychosis and sleep disturbances are also common following the use of stimulants, which frequently affect mental health. In severe cases, migraines, seizures, respiratory depression, heart attacks, multi organ failure, diminished motor responses, and brain injury may occur after the use of amphetamines and/orcathinones. Snorting/insufflating the drug may result in irritation to the nasal passage & throat, and IV administration may result in painful effects due to the strongly alkaline composition of BZP.
Long Term Effects
Long term risks are not yet fully known but may include respiratory failure, serotonin toxicity and other medical complications as a result of toxicity.
Death Data
Death has occurred following co-ingestion of MDMA due to massive brain swelling.