The current situation of Opioids,
Taliban takeover of Afghanistan and a warning for 2-methyl-ap-237
The consumption of opioids has been present in human history for centuries, from small Poppy crops in the depths of Asia to the Heroin being sold in the alleys of neighborhoods in America to our prescription anti-depressants. These compounds have crept into our everyday life, present in every social paradigm taking a major role in our modern society. Often firstly introduced by physicians, for post-surgery pain, general pain, or as anti-depressives, the lack of education of opioids provided by health professionals to the patient conjoined with the daily or constant use of these substances often leads to an abusive relationship towards the substances or a relationship of dependency.
The constant discontent with Big Pharma towards the prescribed medicine, the inflated price, and the dependence lead to the search for other options in the botanical alternatives or substances in the realm of the black market. Since the Opioids sold in black markets often manufactured in gray labs in China cannot be regulated, the products are often contaminated by various research chemicals when they arrive the streets, creating a potential danger for the user, as the contaminated substances, also named “laced”, is enough to be an overdose. This issue has grown across America, according to Dr. Nora Volkow, head of the National Institute of Drug Abuse, synthetic opioid fatalities rose by 55% in 2020 and roughly 46% is linked to fentanyl contamination.
However, the numbers stated by 2020 have a high probability of increasing by the end of 2021, as the Taliban overcome Afghanistan and threaten to ban the cultivation of Opium Poppies, ending the world’s biggest supply of Opium, producing over 80% of the world’s Heroin distributed to Europe, Africa, parts of Asia and the Middle East.
“There will be no drug production, no drug smuggling. We saw today that our young people were on drugs near the walls; this was making me very, very sad that our youth are addicted,”
“Afghanistan will not be a country of cultivation of opium anymore…. We will bring opium cultivation to zero”
Words of Taliban’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid during a press conference.
Just like the Taliban Opium Ban in the early 2000’s one of the biggest trigger points in the War on Drugs as the Afghan crops dropped from 82.000 hectares to merely 8.000 hectares, regardless of the promises of making Afghanistan drug free, the previous attempt by the Taliban’s lead to an economic suicide as most of the Afghan economy revolves around opium. Nevertheless, if the Opium ban occurs, the rise of research opioids and fentanyl analogs will accentuate.
One of the most relevant reasons behind the deaths occurring in the so-called “opioid epidemic” is the non-monitorization and test of the street substances due to the illegality of these substances, deaths of celebrities such as Prince and Michael Jackson were a step to popularize these events but sadly they occur daily. The importance of testing street drugs dates back to the idea of a pure compound, with a controlled dosage, something not controlled often, especially in the case of street LSD, where fine apparatus is needed in order to measure micro-grams, on the case of opioids, often stronger substances are present, as for example the potent opioid fentanyl being the reason behind the cause of several deaths on the recent years. Fortunately, these situations can be prevented by creating an accessible way for people to test their street drugs, consequently lowering the risks taken by the consumers.
Just like the various deaths caused by fentanyl and its derivatives present in street drugs, a new opioid has been haunting the psychedelic forums. A research chemical opioid going by the name 2-Methyl-AP-237 was recently linked as a possible cause to the death of the Moderator of the Forum BLUELIGHT, going by the name of Captain Heroin. The substance itself has been firstly synthesized in Japan during the ’70s and became popular on the Dark Web and illicit research chemical websites recently, just like various opium related products the substance is a potent agonist of the μ-opioid receptor (MOR) and a relatively low affinity with the δ-opioid receptor and the κ-opioid receptor.
As far as today,2-Methyl-AP-237 hasn’t been studied scientifically for its toxicology and physiological properties, however, the users in forums described the substance as a white crystal, or a chalky powder, that can also be sold as a yellow crystal or resin, and a cinnamon-like odor, being the yellow batches contaminated with cinnamaldehyde and butyryl chloride adding toxicity to the substance, the users also described a feeling of their organs shutting down as well as vomiting stomach acid and blood at every other time they’ve tried the substance as well as severe burns in their tongues, inside of the cheeks and gums. For this same reason, the forum as well as the DEA and German Betäubungsmittelgesetz, the German narcotics brigade have stated a warning for the substance and future contaminations.
Despite the speculation, the drug cannot be fully related to the death of Captain Heroin, as friends with the user described that he had been using small quantities of 2-Methyl-AP-237 as well as other research Opioids and he had been underweight for some time, so even a small dosage of the substance could’ve been enough, with that being said, the poor performance of the substance as a psychedelic could have a benefit in research for future clinical tools as its analog Bucinnazine, an opioid analgesic used in China to treat pain in cancer patients.
In memory of Captain Heroin, my best condolences to the family and friends.