A designer synthetic drug known as 2C-B is currently wreaking havoc in Colombia, but it has been making headlines in the U.S. and other countries for years.
The Basics of 2C-B
2C-B was first created in the ‘70s by an American chemist as an aid during therapy. The drug comes in a powder form and is easily distinguished by its pink color. 2C-B was temporarily sold in the U.S. as a "legal" substitute for Ecstacy, but later outlawed due to its list of adverse effects.
It’s taken orally and produces a high that lasts from two to four hours, with users hoping to experience both vivid hallucinations and erotic sensations. The high price tag attached to 2C-B has given it the reputation of a “party drug for the wealthy.”
Negative side effects commonly include aggressive behavior and uncontrollable anger.
The Dark Truth of Designer Drugs
Like all synthetic drugs, 2C-B causes some lesser known and decidedly dangerous side effects. Juan Carlos Rios, the director of the Center for Toxicological Information, reports that 2C-B has side effects including “diarrhea, dizziness, vomiting and seizures. Then [it] generates depression, insomnia and severe anxiety disorders. If mixed with alcohol, it can even lead to cardiac arrest and death.”
In addition, two deaths were linked to the abuse of 2C-B in October 2009 – one in Denmark and one in California. Unsurprisingly, the U.S. has since classified it as a Schedule I drug.
The drug has become hugely popular in the Colombian club scene, but it has also led to mass acts of violence throughout the country. Eight people were massacred in the city of Cali during a meeting between members of the Urabeños criminal network.
Among those killed was “J1,” an Urabeños commander who was responsible for the 2C-B drug trade throughout the city. And with police seizing 3,000 2C-B capsules in March 2013 and declaring that the party drug is “replacing cocaine,” the black market for it likely won’t go away anytime soon.
2C-B in America
2C-B was first introduced to the U.S. club scene in the early ‘90s as both “nexus” and “venus.” Despite fading away in recent years and being replaced by other popular club drugs such as Molly, it still has a foothold in certain circles. It remains popular in the U.K., though, even leading to several mass overdoses in recent years. Six Newcastle University students were hospitalized in January 2013 after getting their hands on a bad batch of the drug.
As long as 2C-B remains illegal, there can be no quality control of the drug. That means users can never be totally sure what they are ingesting, making it highly likely we will see similar stories in the news for years to come.
Learn more about the available treatment options for synthetic drug addiction.