2C-B (Nexus): Usage trends

Last modified: Saturday, 20. June 2009 - 3:56 pm

Based on the amount of 2C-B seized in drug raids, use of the drug appears be on the increase in the United States. Teenagers and young adults who frequent raves are the most common users. The rise in 2C-B use has coincided with the increasing popularity of raves, which cater to those under age 21. It is often sold as MDMA or used in conjunction with other so-called club drugs.
Drug treatment programs across the United States that specialize in treating substance abusers under 18 years old were surveyed about their current population of patients. The survey found their clients use a variety of drugs, although alcohol, marijuana, and hallucinogens were the most frequently abused substances. For most youths in treatment, hallucinogen consumption is part of an extensive drug use history. Counselors rarely see adolescents who abuse only hallucinogens. Anecdotal reports from some counselors indicate as many as 80% of clients have used hallucinogens. Others report diagnosing as many as three or four cases per week of adolescents with hallucinogen-related perceptual disorders. The reports attribute the perception disorders to the number of “trips,” including consecutive multiple doses, that teenagers often take.
Renewed interest in hallucinogens coincides with a perception of reduced risk and greater peer support for use, the Monitoring the Future (MTF) studies show. In 1991, 90% of high school seniors reported that they disapproved of hallucinogen use even once or twice. That number had dropped to 83% in 1994 and to 80% in 1996.
Scope and severity
It is difficult to track the scope and severity of 2C-B use in the United States for the following reasons:
• The drug has only been illegal since 1995, when it was classified as a Schedule I drug under the CSA.
• Few state and federal agencies track 2C-B use specifically, usually lumping it in with either club drugs or hallucinogens.
• The drug is often sold and used in combination with other drugs such as LSD, MDMA, ketamine, and methamphetamines. Also, it is often sold as MDMA, especially at raves.
• Standard drug tests, including urinalysis, do not currently detect the presence of 2C-B.
Some conclusions can be drawn based on existing data from state and federal agencies involved in drug control and treatment. The distribution of 2C-B has been sporadic since it became scheduled in 1995, according to a 2001 report by the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC). Beginning in 1991, though, seizures of large quantities of 2C-B have increased. In the 2001 report, the NDIC warned local law enforcement agencies they should consider 2C-B an emerging drug threat.
Local police agencies and federal drug enforcement officials began noticing a sharp increase in 2C-B seizures and arrests beginning in December 1999 when the drug surfaced in Virginia. Police in Las Vegas first came across 2C-B in May 2000 when they discovered it was being sold in nightclubs as MDMA. By May 2001, Las Vegas police undercover agents had purchased 1,900 tablets of 2C-B, many of which came from southern California. At about the same time, police were making arrests for possession of 2C-B in Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Maine; and Chicago. Within a few months, arrests were made in Kansas, Missouri, and Pennsylvania. By 2002, the drug was reported nationwide, and drug officials said they did not expect to see a reversal of this trend in the near future.
The 2001 NDIC report stated that the use of 2C-B is likely to increase due to its marketing as MDMA and the rapidly increasing demand for synthetic club drugs at raves and dance clubs.
Age, ethnic, and gender trends
Monitoring the Future study. The Monitoring the Future (MTF) study does not specifically track 2C-B use. However, some insight can be gained by looking at the statistics for two categories that are tracked: hallucinogens and MDMA (ecstasy). These categories are important because 2C-B is a hallucinogen, and 2C-B users often take the drug in combination with or as a replacement for MDMA.
Student use of MDMA increased in 2001 from the previous four years, according to the study of eighth-, tenth-, and twelfth-grade students across the United States. Among eighth graders, 5.2% reported in 2001 that they had used MDMA at least once in their lives. This compared to 4.3% in 2000 and 3.2% in 1997. The rate among tenth graders was 8% in 2001, compared to 7.3% in 2000 and 5.7% in 1997. The rate among high school seniors was 11.7% in 2001, up from 11% in 2000 and 6.9% in 1997.
Use of hallucinogens decreased in 2001 from the previous four years. In 2001, 4% of eighth-grade students reported they had used a hallucinogen sometime in their life. This compared to 4.6% in 2000 and 5.4% in 1997. Among tenth graders, the rate was 7.8% in 2001, 8.9% in 2000, and 10.5% in 1997. Students in the twelfth grade had rates of 12.8% in 2001, 13% in 2000, and 15.1% in 1997.
National Household Study on Drug Abuse. The
National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA) found that hallucinogen use is on the rise among the general U.S. population, especially among people under age 26. In 1999, the survey found 1.4 million Americans were new users of hallucinogens, the highest number since 1965. The survey found 669,000 new users were youths ages 12-17, 604,000 ages 18-25, and only 127,000 were age 26 and over. In 2000, 83% of hallucinogen users were under age 26, according to the survey.
In the 2000 survey, 19.3% of respondents between the ages of 18-25, and 5.8% between the ages of 12-17 reported using a hallucinogen at least once. As is true for the MTF survey data, NHSDA data indicate that much of this increase has been among whites and Hispanics. The greatest concentration of reported lifetime use is found among two groups: white youths ages 18-25 (19%) and Hispanics ages 18-25 (9%).
The survey also identified hallucinogen users today as mainstream college students. Private and public campuses are equally likely to report hallucinogen use, while religious schools are most likely to report little or no use. Larger campuses and institutions in urban areas report the widest range of hallucinogen use. This is likely because of greater student accessibility to the off-campus urban rave and club scene near larger schools.
Based on these and other studies, a profile emerges of the typical 2C-B user: usually white but sometimes Hispanic, medium to high family income levels, 18-26 years old, from an urban area, regularly attends all-night dance parties or raves. Use of hallucinogens was higher among males than females, especially those in the 18-25 age group. A user of 2C-B is also very likely to abuse other drugs.

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