Drugs Unlimited by Mike Power

Drugs Unlimited by Mike Power

Author:Mike Power
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9781466857742
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books



This small tweak had changed the drug’s chemical categorization; it now had a benzofuran ring, and therefore belonged to an entirely distinct chemical class, making 6-APB slip through the law’s loopholes in most countries in the world, including the UK. A new, completely legal drug had appeared. A poster named GZero wrote a trip report on this new drug on 7 May 2010: ‘This is an absolutely beautiful drug … It’s like MDMA but less sweating fiendishness. Cocktail party MDMA. Very similar to MDA actually, but gently and colourfully visual. This is insane, I never expected this to be this nice.’

In the past, drugs like MDMA took years, if not decades, to become popular. With 6-APB, it happened in a matter of weeks. A group of five UK-based vendors claimed to have the exclusive distribution rights to the material, which was sold initially at eighty pounds per gram – making each dose cost around twelve pounds. They posted YouTube videos, now deleted, of the pill-pressing and packing processes, attempting to brand the drugs exclusively. They also posted videos showing the correct reaction for the drug using widely available pill-testing kits.

Most brazenly of all, the drug was branded Benzo Fury by the vendors. It was an odd choice of name because ‘Benzo’ is usually a slang term for tranquillizers, taken from the first syllable of ‘benzodiazepines’, the class of drugs to which diazepam (Valium) belongs, whereas this new drug was nothing of the sort; it was a psychedelic stimulant. But there was a chemical connection: a benzofuran is a benzene ring – a circular structure made up of six carbon atoms and six hydrogen atoms – that is connected to a furan ring, which is made up of four carbon molecules and one oxygen molecule. And in the same way that 3,4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine only really took off when it became known as Ecstasy, and just as 4-methylmethcathinone became much more popular once it was called Meow, so too did 6-(2-aminopropyl)benzofuran, aka 6-APB, gain many more fans when it became branded as Benzo Fury. It was sold from that summer of 2010 right up until this book was going to press, in professionally printed orange plastic pouches, complete with a barcode. (Official though it looked, however, the barcode on many packets actually corresponded to the 1986 Genesis album Invisible Touch.)

With their branding exercise, the vendors had also chanced upon a singularly effective web marketing strategy. When people entered the two search terms BENZO and FURY into Google, the sites owned by those selling this new drug appeared first in the search results, since it was such a strange and unusual phrase. They also tagged their sites’ and pages’ metadata – information which Google’s robots crawl, document and then index – with the chemical and brand name of the drug. It was the finest bit of designer-drug-related rogue search engine optimization that had ever been seen. That was, admittedly, a very small field – at the time. It has grown since.

Almost as soon


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