“Benzo Fury” might sound like the name of a videogame character that roams a dystopian digital landscape, slaying enemies in a never-ending search for revenge. It’s not, though that nonexistent game would be a much better use of a person’s time than taking benzofuran, which is where “benzo fury” gets its name.
In the long line of research chemicals and recreational designer drugs, sometimes called “legal highs” or “club drugs” among other names, benzofuran is a psychoactive amphetamine with one or two molecules changed to skirt federal drug laws.
Synthesized in underground laboratories and sold in colorful packages at head-shops, musical festivals, raves and on the internet with the sentence “not for human consumption” printed on the package, benzo fury was developed to mimic MDMA Molly or ecstasy’s euphoric properties.
What are the Dangers of a Benzo Fury High?
Some people using benzo fury to get high report feelings of excitement, empathy with others, increased energy and a general sense of wellbeing, though there are an equal number of horror stories from users who didn’t have a positive experience.
Pharmacologists refer to the concoction as 6-APB. Sometimes presented as a grainy, tan powder, the compound is more commonly pressed into tablets or capsules that users orally ingest. Even with a limited amount of data on benzofuran’s adverse effects, researchers see a host of potential dangers associated with using it.
“It is in the combination of [benzofuran’s] stimulant and hallucinogenic properties where the greatest danger lies,” Dr. Opacka-Juffry, a professor at Roehampton University, London, said in an interview.
“Pure hallucinogens are not addictive as such because they do not cause an increase in dopamine release, unlike amphetamines or cocaine…But ‘benzo fury’ with its mixed properties is a trap as its repetitive use for the hallucinogenic effects could lead to dependence, which the user may not expect.”
What are the Regulations and Side Effects of Benzo Fury?
Some of the negative side effects of benzo fury can include the following:
- Increased blood pressure
- Psychosis or anxiety
- Panic attacks
- Elevated body temperature
- Dilated pupils
- Overdose and death
Critics of federal drug guidelines suggest that prohibition is the reason for the flood of synthetic “club drugs” or “bath salts,” such as “benzo fury,” being developed in the first place. Martin Powell, a drug reform advocate with the UK based organization Transform, argues that government rules have put people at even greater risk.
“Through prohibition we have created an endless stream of new substances that are potentially even more hazardous than the ones that have been banned,” Powell said in an interview with Vice News.
He endorsed New Zealand’s Psychoactive Substance Bill, which strictly regulates “party pills” or “legal highs.”
How Many People are Using It?
Since these types of synthetic drugs like benzofurans or benzo fury can fly under the radar, gathering data on the number of people using them is difficult.
But when synthetic marijuana, often referred to as K2 or “spice,” made its debut in the United States around 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began tracking calls to poison control centers across the country.
The agency reported a staggering 330 percent increase in synthetic-marijuana related calls in just a four-month period in 2015, between January and April.
Where Do People Get Benzofuran?
As government officials try to keep up with synthetic drugs like benzo fury and have them removed from shelves, benzofuran can be ordered online.
Offshore laboratories are often one step ahead, too, simply waiting to alter the chemical’s makeup by one or two molecules to get around the legal laws and remarket it.
In the U.S., getting high on benzofuran is likely illegal because of the Federal Analog Act, which makes it a crime to produce drugs “substantially similar” to schedule I or II narcotics. “Benzo fury” would, more than likely, be ruled an analog of amphetamine and most definitely not a videogame character.