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Pharm World Sci. 2004 Apr;26(2):110-3.

A new trend in drugs-of-abuse; the 2C-series of phenethylamine designer drugs.

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  • 1Instituto Nacional do Desporto, Laboratório de Análises de Dopagem e Bioquímica, Av. Prof. Egas Moniz (Estádio Universitário), 1600-190 Lisbon, Portugal.



To collect data related to phenethylamine drugs-of-abuse of the 2C-series, to review possible health risks of their use and to discuss legal counter actions of authorities in the European Union (EU).


Dutch smartshops.


In the period of 1994-2002, all products that were claimed to contain synthetic drugs and sold in the smartshops, were purchased. The contents were analysed using analytical chemical technologies such as gas chromatography/mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance. Additionally, using computerised searches in relevant databases and checking cross-references, literature and documents were screened for scientific based information.


All purchased products proved to be tablets, of which most of them contained one of the phenethylamine designer drugs 2C-B, 2C-T-2 or 2C-T-7. The different drugs were introduced on the Dutch smartshop market within time intervals of approximately three years. The information that was supplied on leaflets and accompanied the products sometimes appeared to be extensive, but was partly misleading and incorrect. Besides that, scientific based information in respect to health risks of drugs of the 2C-series and the detection of their abuse was scarce. Until now no intoxications have been reported in the EU and no centralised legal actions have been taken to prevent possible intoxications.


The lack of observed intoxications may justify the absence of legal actions in the EU against phenethylamine designer drugs-of-abuse of the 2C-series. However, this may also be explained by either the inability of toxicologists to detect the abuse of substances of the 2C-series or the unawareness of the phenomenon of these drugs. Therefore, EU authorities should promote the availability of relevant standards, validated assays and scientific knowledge regarding these drugs.

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