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What is Pink Cocaine?

Harvard organic chemist Alexander Shulgin, known for his work with Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA or ecstasy), originally developed phenylethylamine ​​2C-B in the early 1970s. Marketed and sold as a libido enhancer and treatment for erectile dysfunction, Phenylethylamine 2C-B went by the name Performax or Erox. In 1995, the United States Drug Enforcement Agency reclassified the drug as a Schedule 1 Controlled substance because they concluded it had no acceptable medical use and a high potential for abuse. [1]

Over the last decade, Phenylethylamine 2C-B has been a recreational party drug that began in the club scene in South and Central America, where it became known as pink cocaine or Bromo. Drug manufacturers commonly manufacture the drug as a pill or a pink powder form that users ingest orally or intranasally.

Can Cocaine Be Pink?

Pink Cocaine is the common slang term for synthetic phenylethylamine 2C-B. It is a popular designer drug used in club and party scenes because of its stimulant effect and psychoactive properties. The term “Pink Cocaine” is a misnomer because it does not share any chemical resemblance to cocaine, which is plant-derived hydrochloride.

Pink Cocaine
Pink Cocaine is the common slang term for synthetic phenylethylamine 2C-B. A popular designer drug that is often used in club and party scenes. (Image source: https://www.dea.gov/sites/default/files/divisions/sf/2008/sanfran031008p.html)

Several treatment options can effectively treat designer drug addiction. Encourage your friend or loved one to talk to their doctor or a treatment counselor about using substance abuse treatmentrelapse prevention, or support groups as part of their recovery. Find out more about cocaine addiction treatment below and what are the effects of the designer drug “pink cocain?”

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Where Does Pink Cocaine Come From?

2C-B is a synthetic (man-made) substance created by Alexander Shulgin in Europe in the 1970s. In the 1980s, foreign companies sold 2C-B as a sexual enhancement drug that improved libido and impotence. 

2C-B was sold under the following brand names:

  • Nexus
  • Performax
  • Erox

2C-B entered the United States around the same time and was manufactured in secret laboratories in several states. Since 1995, 2C-B has been a Schedule I controlled substance in the United States. This means it has no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.  Most recently, pink cocaine ingredients have been marketed by Latin American drug traffickers to produce the pink cocaine. Pink cocaine has appeared in several South American countries, including Argentina and Uruguay. [2]

Pink cocaine has had numerous street names, including:

  • Bromo
  • Toonies 
  • “Tucibi”
  • Spectrum
  • Nexus 
Peruvian Pink Cocaine

For more than a decade, pink cocaine has been consumed as a recreational party drug. Although it is not cocaine, it has comparable effects. Pink Peruvian Cocaine, which comes in pills or powder form, is widely used throughout South and Central America. The most typical routes for ingesting this substance are oral and intranasal.

Pink Cocaine Colombia

Most recently, 2C-B has been marketed by Colombian drug traffickers as pink cocaine. 2c pink cocaine is not commonly injected, unlike other illicit narcotics. Because it is used so regularly in public settings (parties, clubs, etc.) where injecting would not be practical or suitable, it is typically taken orally or snorted.

Side Effects of Pink Cocaine

After ingesting the drug, the effects of pink cocaine peak after approximately two hours but can last between four and eight hours. The effects vary by the amount of the dose. The drug may cause a rise in heartbeat, an increase in sensual senses, and a sense of mild euphoria in small doses. Larger doses can cause a rapid heart rate, nausea and vomiting, mild to severe hallucinations, and heightened agitation.

In very high doses, “cocaine pink” may cause respiratory depression, seizures, or excited delirium, which can induce hypothermia and possibly fatal cardiac arrest.

Because it’s often manufactured in illicit laboratories and not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, it may be impossible to know how strong a dose you take. The drugmaker might cut pink cocaine with other chemicals or drugs that are unknown, and these combinations can increase adverse effects. [3]

pink cocaine
After ingesting, the effects of pink cocaine peak after approximately two hours but can last between four and eight hours.

Pink cocaine is in a class of 2C drugs known as phenylethylamine designer drugs. Phenylethylamines are a group of drugs with stimulant and psychoactive effects. These drugs also include amphetamines, methamphetamine, and MDMA.

Pink cocaine is usually sold to people as a party drug at clubs and raves to replace MDMA (Ecstasy). Its effects can vary from mild to severe, depending on the dose. Even a small increase in dose can dramatically alter its effects. Find out more about the long-term effects of MDMA.

Side-effects of pink cocaine may include:

  • Heightened senses
  • Hallucinations (mild to severe)
  • Euphoria
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Agitation
  • Rapid heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Respiratory depression
  • Seizures 

It can produce mild stimulating effects when taken in low doses but can cause severe reactions, including frightening hallucinations at high doses. The effects of pink cocaine usually peak within two hours but can last 4-8 hours.

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Dangers of Pink Cocaine

The drug is illegal in the United States, so the long-term effects of taking pink cocaine are unclear. It is understood that the drug interacts with neurotransmitters (or chemical messengers) levels in the brain, especially serotonin, which is partly responsible for helping people regulate their emotions. Pink cocaine may act like naturally occurring serotonin in the brain, tricking it into believing that levels are too high. This could potentially result in serotonin syndrome, which can be fatal.

Interaction with the brain’s chemical makeup can interfere with normal brain function, and a person may suffer from a “crash” when the drug wears off. Long-term ecstasy use, for example, can damage serotonin neurons and cause levels of this important mood-regulating chemical to be unnaturally low, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) warns. Repeated psychoactive drug use can cause the brain to expect the drug to regulate its chemical levels, and it may have difficulty balancing itself without drugs.

Drug dependence, withdrawal symptoms (which often include sleep and appetite disturbances, anxiety, depression, difficulties feeling pleasure, and physical discomfort), and addiction may be side effects of continued drug use. It is unclear exactly how addictive pink cocaine may be; however, ecstasy has been extensively researched. Since the drugs have similar action methods, it is safe to assume that repeated use of pink cocaine can have long-term side effects, including addiction, mood disturbances, thinking, and memory issues related to brain damage from chronic signs of drug abuse.

The other drug that pink crack cocaine is likened to is LSD. Is LSD addictive? While LSD is not considered addictive, it can have long-lasting complications associated with its use. One of the most well-known potential side effects of hallucinogenic drug abuse is the possibility of experiencing a “flashback.” A flashback is a sudden re-experiencing of the trip, often occurring without warning.

The journal Therapeutic Advances in Pharmacology publishes that 5-50% of people who take hallucinogenic drugs will experience at least one flashback at some point in their lives. NIDA warns that using LSD, or another hallucinogenic drug, can cause a person to suffer from either persistent psychosis or hallucinogenic persisting perception disorder (HPPD), both of which include continuing visual disturbances and the potential for ongoing hallucinations, disrupted thinking, and mood swings. [4]

The Difference Between Pink Cocaine and Other Forms of Cocaine

Pink cocaine is usually a pink pill or powder taken orally or snorted intranasally. It should not be confused with cocaine hydrochloride, the plant-based stimulant from a fine, white powder. Cocaine is a central nervous system stimulant that affects the dopamine receptors in your brain. Although pink cocaine may affect dopamine receptors, most research has found that it affects serotonin receptors. 

Pink cocaine and regular cocaine have a few similarities, including the risk of addiction and chemical dependence. Cocaine is a concentrated, refined form of the coca plant known as cocaine hydrochloride. Cocaine acts as both a stimulant and anesthetic, which is why it has some medical applications and is a Schedule II substance in the U.S. Pink cocaine, however, is a man-made (synthetic drug) phenylethylamine that achieves its psychoactive properties by reacting with the body’s serotonin system.

Pink Cocaine Overdose

Although research is limited to the full extent of the effects of pink cocaine, high doses can cause excited delirium. Excited delirium can cause severe adverse effects and increases the risk of a life-threatening reaction. 

pink cocaine
Pink cocaine is usually a pink pill or powder taken orally or snorted intranasally. It should not be confused with cocaine hydrochloride, the plant-based stimulant from a fine, white powder. 

Signs of excited delirium include:

  • Confusion
  • Agitation
  • Violence
  • Hyperactivity
  • Hyperthermia (dangerously high body temperature)

If untreated, excited delirium may lead to cardiac arrest. Pink cocaine is manufactured in illicit laboratories and is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). You can never know your exact dose or what the drug contains. Sometimes pink cocaine is taken with ecstasy or LSD to enhance the effects, known as a “party pack” or “banana split.” Combining these drugs increases the risk of adverse effects and overdose. 

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Is Pink Cocaine Addictive?

Little is known about the effects of pink cocaine, but one recent experiment on mice found that 2C-B was addictive. This experiment found the changes in the brain and addictive properties of 2C-B were comparable to methamphetamine. 

Despite the limited research, there is a high potential for abuse and risk of adverse effects. After repeated use, your body may develop a tolerance, meaning you need increasingly higher amounts to achieve the same effects. High doses of pink cocaine can lead to serious and life-threatening complications. 

Treatment Options for Cocaine Addiction

The treatment for cocaine addiction must address the context of polydrug users to be effective. As stated by The National Institute on Drug Abuse in the piece ‘Cocaine Research Report. How is cocaine addiction treated?’, In 2013, cocaine accounted for almost 6% of all admissions to drug abuse treatment programs. Most individuals (68% in 2013) who seek treatment for cocaine use smoke crack and are likely to be polydrug users, meaning they use more than one substance. [5]

Those who provide treatment for cocaine use should recognize that drug addiction is a complex disease involving changes in the brain as well as a wide range of social, familial, and other environmental factors; therefore, treatment of Cocaine Addiction must address this broad context as well as any other co-occurring mental disorders that require additional behavioral or pharmacological interventions.

Treatment for cocaine addiction is focused on behavioral interventions that can be used to manage this substance dependence effectively. There are no medicines that work as substitutes for powder cocaine, crack cocaine, and other stimulants of this kind. However, currently, there are some pharmacological advances.

Pink Cocaine
There are no FDA-approved medications to treat addiction to hallucinogens. But, behavioral therapies can help treat hallucinogenic drug abuse.

Pharmacological Approaches

Currently, there is no US. Approved medications, drug administration, or a specific diet to treat cocaine addiction. However, researchers are exploring a variety of neurobiological targets. 

According to The National Institute on Drug Abuse,  several medications marketed for other diseases show promise in reducing cocaine use within controlled clinical trials. Among these, disulfiram used to treat alcoholism has shown the most promise. Scientists do not yet know how disulfiram reduces cocaine use, though its effects may be related to its ability to inhibit an enzyme that converts dopamine to norepinephrine.

However, disulfiram does not work for everyone. Pharmacogenetic studies reveal variants in the gene that encodes the DBH enzyme and seems to influence disulfiram’s effectiveness in reducing cocaine use. Knowing a patient’s DBH genotype could help predict whether disulfiram would be an effective pharmacotherapy for cocaine dependence in that person.

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Cocaine Addiction Vaccine

Researchers have developed and conducted early tests on a cocaine vaccine that could help reduce the risk of relapse. The vaccine stimulates the immune system to create cocaine-specific antibodies that bind to cocaine, preventing it from getting into the brain. In addition to showing the vaccine’s safety, a clinical trial found that patients who attained high antibody levels significantly reduced cocaine use. However, only 38% of the vaccinated subjects attained sufficient antibody levels for only two months. [6]

Researchers are working to improve the cocaine vaccine by enhancing the strength of binding to cocaine and its ability to elicit antibodies. New vaccine technologies, including gene transfer to boost the specificity and level of antibodies produced or enhance the metabolism of cocaine, may also improve the effectiveness of this treatment. A pharmacogenetics study with a small number of patients suggests that individuals with a particular genotype respond well to the cocaine vaccine—an intriguing finding that requires more research.

Behavioral Interventions

Many behavioral treatments for cocaine addiction have proven effective in inpatient treatment settings. Indeed, behavioral therapies are often the only available and effective treatments for many drug problems, including stimulant addictions. However, the integration of behavioral and pharmacological treatments may ultimately prove to be the most effective approach.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for addiction is an effective approach to preventing relapse. This approach helps patients develop critical skills that support long-term abstinence—including recognizing the situations in which they are most likely to use cocaine, avoiding these situations, and coping more effectively with various problems associated with drug use. This therapy can also be used with other treatments, maximizing both benefits.

Cocaine Addiction Treatment Near Me

Cocaine and “pink cocaine” designer drug addiction is a serious disease that should not be taken lightly. We Level Up rehab treatment & detox center can provide you, or someone you love, the tools to recover from cocaine addiction with professional and safe treatment. Feel free to call us to speak with one of our counselors. We can inform you about this condition by giving you relevant information. Our specialists know what you are going through. Please know that each call is private and confidential.

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Sources

[1] Dean BV, Stellpflug SJ, Burnett AM, Engebretsen KM. 2C or not 2C: phenethylamine designer drug review. J Med Toxicol. 2013 Jun;9(2):172-8. doi: 10.1007/s13181-013-0295-x. PMID: 23494844; PMCID: PMC3657019. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3657019/
[2] Cocaine Addiction » Drug Alcohol Addiction Rehab (welevelup.com) – WeLevelUp.com
[3] ‘Stress and Cocaine Addiction,’ Nick E. Goeders. – Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
[4] ‘Cocaine Research Report. How is Cocaine Addiction treated?’ – National Institute on Drug Abuse (https://www.drugabuse.gov/)
[5] How is cocaine addiction treated? – NIDA. 2020, June 11. How is cocaine addiction treated?. Retrieved from https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/cocaine/what-treatments-are-effective-cocaine-abusers on 2022, October 4