A broad class of chemical compounds which mimic the effects of ecstasy
What does it look like?
Piperazines can come in various forms and shapes. Pills can be red, blue, pink, white, off-white, purple, orange, tan and mottled orange-brown.
They can carry an impression such as a housefly, crown, heart, butterfly, smiley face, bull's head, autobot, bird flying, Mickey Mouse, five pointed star, Superman and a witch’s hat.
Piperazines are also sold as an off-white powder, in capsules and as a liquid.
The best known piperazines are BZP (benzylpiperazine), TFMPP, DBZP and mCPP.
Piperazines are taken as pills that come in various forms, colours and shapes.
How does it make you feel?
BZP was originally evaluated as an antidepressant drug. Now it is found mainly as a substitute for MDMA.
The stimulant effects of piperazines are similar to MDMA (ecstasy) but dose for dose they are not as potent.
Effects can last for 6 to 8 hours and include feelings of:
- being alert, alive and full of energy
- loss of appetite
How long the effects last and the drug stays in your system depends on how much you’ve taken, your size, whether you’ve eaten and what other drugs you may have also taken.
How long it lasts
The effects of taking piperazines can last for 6 to 8 hours
Physical health risks
Users often suffer a hangover-like reaction that can last for up to 24 hours.
Agitation, vomiting, stomach pain, fits, irregular heart rhythms, diarrhoea, allergic reactions and fever have been reported.
As stimulant drugs, piperazines are particularly risky if taken by anyone suffering from high blood pressure or a heart condition. And you may not know that you have a pre-existing heart condition.
Perfectly healthy young people can have a fit or heart attack after taking stimulant drugs.
In rare cases, users may suffer from serotonin syndrome, which can cause high blood pressure and be fatal.
What is piperazines cut with?
The chemical composition of substances sold as piperazines are changing all the time, which is why you can never be sure of what you're getting and how it could affect you.
Is it dangerous to mix with other drugs?
Mixing piperazines with alcohol can be particularly dangerous - the effects of these two substances interact, and you may also be less in control, making use much riskier.
This is a Class C drug, which means it's illegal to have for yourself, give away or sell.
Possession can get you up to 2 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both.
Supplying someone else, even your friends, can get you up to 14 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both.
Like drink-driving, driving when high is dangerous and illegal. If you’re caught driving under the influence, you may receive a heavy fine, driving ban, or prison sentence.
If the police catch people supplying illegal drugs in a home, club, bar or hostel, they can potentially prosecute the landlord, club owner or any other person concerned in the management of the premises.