The New Highs

In 2009, colored ecstasy pills started popping up around the country in the shape of President Barack Obama’s head. Those came on the heels of yellow smiley-faced marijuana gum balls appearing at a Howard County school, THC candy bars called “Stoners” marketed underground in California, and turtle-shaped chocolate psychedelic mushrooms in Oregon. Every year, it seems, people think up new ways to get high. According to the feds, below are some unusual drugs the DEA says saw spikes in usage in the past year and others that are making a resurgence.

Purple Drank

What is Purple Drank? Prescription-strength cough syrup combined with lemon-lime soda and pieces of hard candy. Variations include using juice or sports drinks.

Effects of Purple Drank: It’s a sedative and gives users a “woozy” feeling of “swooning euphoria.” The feds say Purple Drank is “highly addictive” and has contributed to overdose deaths, including that of the Texas man widely credited with popularizing the mixture.

Street names: Lean, syrup, Texas tea, purple jelly, purple tonic, sip-sip, player potion, purp and sizzurp.

Rise in Popularity: Used since the 1960s, the mixture has enjoyed a revival as Lil Wayne, Eminem, Kanye West, Fast East Movement and other acts have included references in their music.

Legal Status: With a cough syrup prescription from a doctor, this drink is a combination of legal substances.

Kill

What is Kill? A narcotic, such as heroin, laced with another substance, such as fentanyl, a synthetic opiate, approximately 50 times more potent than heroin.

Effects of Kill: Results in irrational behavior and is extremely dangerous to the user’s health.

Street names: Kill or keel.

Rise in popularity: Used among hard-core junkies drawn in because of its reputation for being more powerful than heroin.

Legal status: Illegal.

BZP

What is BSP? Originally a parasite treatment for cattle, tablets containing the synthetic stimulant drug BZP (N-benzylpiperazine) are often combined with caffeine. BZP is typically pressed onto logo-embossed tablets or shaped into cartoon-character tablets.

Effects of BZP: BZP produces euphoria and cardiovascular effects similar to those of amphetamine, but much less severe. Effects generally last six to eight hours.

Street names: A2, Benny Bear, Benny, Frenzy, Legal E, Legal X, Molly and Nemesis.

Rise in popularity: Law enforcement agencies have reported a spike in usage as the drug is sold as ecstasy to unsuspecting buyers.

Legal status: Illegal in the United States but legal in some parts of Europe.

Opium Tea

What is Opium Tea? A tea brewed with various parts of opium poppy plants.

Effects of Opium Tea: Users initially experience a warm feeling and a state of euphoria and sleepiness. At high doses, death can occur through respiratory depression. Effects of the tea begin within 30 minutes and may last up to eight hours. According to medical examiners in several states, five men ingested poppy tea shortly before their deaths.

Street names: Opium tea or poppy tea.

Rise in popularity: Users can find legal ingredients to make the tea at farmer’s markets or on the Internet.

Legal status: Poppy seeds are legal in the United States, but other parts of the plant are illegal.