Thursday, 30 June 2011

Researchers warn about the online availability of the powerfulhallucinogenic drug ‘B-Fly’

Our recently-published research shows that the online availability of a growing number of ‘designer drugs’ such as Bromo-Dragonfly (or simply ‘B-Fly’), a powerful, long-lasting (up to three days) hallucinogenic substance, constitutes a public health challenge.

In a paper entitled Designer Drugs on the Internet: a Phenomenon Out-of-Control? The Emergence of Hallucinogenic Drug Bromo-Dragonfly in Current Clinical Pharmacology published in May,  we describe how increased popularity of the drug has been associated with recent acute intoxications and deaths in a number of countries.

In a comprehensive review of both the peer-reviewed and the anecdotal online data on B-Fly, we explain how the web activity associated with the drug gradually increased since 2005. ‘B-fly’ can allegedly induce profound hallucinations, sound alterations and its high level of toxicity caused a series of hospitalizations and fatalities, especially among young people.

Designer drugs, such as B-Fly, manipulate brain functions in ways we know too little about, and might well have widespread and long terms effects on users. Most of these products are not been approved for human consumption, and they are available online at low prices and thus just a ‘click’ away from our homes. As a response, it is very important to pilot novel prevention and educational models as we are doing at the ReDNet project with the use of interactive technologies and the direct involvement of young people and professionals working with them in our Research Centres across Europe.

Dr Ornella Corazza at the University’s School of Pharmacy is lead author on the paper.

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