Recent reports into the Drug Abuse Recognition (DAR) Hotline suggest that the designer drug world is undergoing some shifts in drug preferences and manners of use. In the course of a recently held Medtox DAR Designer Drug webinar, approximately 800 attendees responded to the presentation with anecdotes and other stories of designer drug use in the jurisdictions they serve. As you can imagine, designer drug abuse is wide and varied. It is also quite dangerous. In this regard, leading the list of unusual and unregulated substances is a hallucinogenic phenethylamine product called Bromo-DragonFLY. Rarely mentioned in media coverage, Bromo-DragonFLY is a potent hallucinogen, a drug that is very capable of rendering a user incapacitated and in need of emergency medical attention. While its legal status in the United States is murky, a number of other countries have moved quickly to regulate or outright ban the drug. A related compound called 2 C-B-FLY is sometimes confused as Bromo-DragonFLY, and although the two drugs share hallucinogenic properties, they can produce profoundly different physical effects. Bromo-DragonFLY’s name arose out of the drug’s unique physical chemistry. The furanyl rings coupled with double bonds and an amphetamine arm create a strange structural arrangement that depicts the form of a dragonfly.
Bromo-benzodifuranyl-isopropylamine, aka: Bromo-DragonFLY is found on the streets as a white to pink looking powder that is snorted, smoked, or injected. The drug has allegedly been distributed in blotter paper in some western U.S. locales, in this form the drug may be mistaken as L.S.D. A typical dose of this powerful hallucinogen is purported to a very small 500 micrograms; straying much beyond that amount can quickly lead to toxic or even fatal outcomes. Once absorbed into the bloodstream, Bromo-DragonFLY powerfully stimulates serotonin receptors in the brain. The effects experienced are similar to L.S.D., but are apparently much exaggerated. For DRE and DAR trained readers, Bromo-DragonFLY users will present with classic hallucinogen symptoms. The drug’s amphetamine lineage will trigger very dilated pupils and a symptomatic edginess that may cause users to become extremely confused and agitated.
Bromo-DragonFLY’s nomenclature has been confused with a closely related compound, 2C-Bromo-Fly, also known as 2C-B-FLY. This drug is a more commonly abused hallucinogen, a substance that is less potent and shorter acting than DragonFLY. The use of the term “FLY” in the drug’s name reflects the modified phenethylamine’s chemical tail, a clipped or “hemi” variation of the full tail found with Bromo-DragonFLY. This may seem to be a trivial structural distinction, but it results in some significant differences in how both drugs work in the central nervous system. Like nearly all other modern designer drugs, neither of these substances has been studied in any scientifically acceptable way. 2C-B-Fly is arguably an analog, a very close chemical relative of 2C-B (officially recognized as 2-(4-bromo 2,5-dimethoxyphenyl)ethanamine). It is 2C-B that has received the most attention from designer drug aficionados. In the mid-70s, 2C-B was made famous by Alexander “Sasha” Shulgin a renowned research chemist and author of the book PIHKAL. The main title is an acronym for “Phenethylamines I Have Known And Loved.” Shulgin’s tome explains and details the experiential effects of 2C-B, as well as the procedures that need to be followed in the synthesis of the drug. Shulgin’s PIHKAL is indeed a designer drug cookbook.
Schedule I of the U.S. Controlled Substances Act bans the use and possession of 2C-B. Nevertheless, it continues to circulate in communities throughout the country. For Bromo-DragonFLY and 2C-BFly, possession and sale of these drugs are putative analogs of the banned drug 2C-B; therefore, they are most likely amenable to prosecution under the Federal Analog Act. It is unclear at this point however as to whether or not either of the FLY drugs has been prosecuted using analog provisions of the law. Manufacturers of these designer drugs have danced around American law by stamping their product with advisories such as “not intended for human consumption”, or by naming the products plant food, bath salts, or potpourri. Some individual state legislatures have moved to ban these drugs by adding them to state controlled substances acts.
The designer drug phenomenon continues to plague many American communities. It does not appear to be slowing down. In fact, the phenomenon might be gaining momentum. The names, identities, and legal status of these designer drug substances can be confusing and frustrating. Stay tuned to our DATCS blog for up-to-date news and information related to these drugs.
Attention Parents – K2/Spice – In-House Instant Testing Now Available at our locations!