The Unregulated Psychoactive Compound: ‘Benzo Fury’
Gimeno Clemente, Carla
Introduction: The ‘legal high’ ‘Benzo Fury’ [1-(benzofuran-5-yl)propan-2-amine (5-APB) and 1-(benzofuran-6-yl)propan-2-amine (6-APB)] is an unregulated psychoactive compound which has similar effects as known controlled drugs like amphetamines and ecstasy (with hallucinogenic and stimulant properties). It is known to pose significant health risks, such as causing anxiety, sinus tachycardia, hypertension, and QT prolongation. Furthermore, it is easily obtained from the internet. Methods: A systematic review based on PubMed and Medline literature was conducted. Deaths involving ‘Benzo Fury’ (implicated in death and/or identified at post mortem toxicology) in the UK from 1997-2012 were identified from the national programme on Substance Abuse Deaths (np-SAD) database. The programme periodically receives information regarding drugrelated deaths in the UK submitted voluntarily by Coroners, the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency, and the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency. The general characteristics of these fatalities were analysed. Results: Ten cases were found with ‘Benzo Fury’ identified at post mortem and it was directly implicated in eight of these deaths. In nine cases, ‘Benzo Fury’ was found in combination with other psychoactive substances. All deaths occurred between 2011-12; the median age at death was 24 years; the majority were male (8/10); and where ethnicity was known, all were white. Conclusions: Our findings indicate a need for a Public Health education campaign on the risks of ‘Benzo Fury’ consumption, especially targeting young users and drugs education workers. Further research into the toxicity of ‘Benzo Fury’ and the risks associated with its consumption is also needed.