A new legal research drug known as Etizolam has become a target for the DEA due to its increasing abuse among teens in the U.S. Although the benzodiazepine analog can be dangerous it is currently legal to sell because of the way it is manufactured.
The drug is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and it is not yet detected in most drug tests. The new benzo seems to be attracting teens because it is so easy for them to buy online and share with peers.
A quick google search can turn up several websites with the pills for sale and teens can easily order them in large quantities. Parents have been finding their teens with a personal supply of Etizolam and are concerned about the potential danger in kids buying and taking these drugs. The DEA is attempting to stop some of the drugs from entering the U.S. and reaching young teenagers.
The Spread of Research Chemicals
Etizolam is very closely related to prescription benzodiazepines with only one molecule short of being labeled as a benzo drug like Xanax or Valium. It is part of a group of drugs classified as research chemicals because it is not yet marketed as a prescription drug but is still legal to take.
Federal authorities are seeing more of this drug being sold on the street and also being shipped into the country more frequently. Because the drugs are not yet approved by the FDA, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection has been seizing and destroying Etizolam before it enters the country.
Customs agents worry about the impact the drug will have because it is very dangerous and has not been properly tested for its safety as sedative. It has already been linked to respiratory failure, heart failure and seizures in many cases. Most of the drugs are being shipped from India to U.S. website owners who buy them for a small price and sell them online for a huge profit.
Consequences of Taking Etizolam
The drug is considered a powerful sedative that can relax users to the point of being unable to function. When combined with alcohol it can sedate users so heavily that they will pass out unconscious and not awaken even after vomiting.
Many teens have already overdosed on Etizolam and the drug is also being used among young people as a date rape drug because it lowers inhibitions and creates an amnesia-like effect. The DEA is starting to crack down on the availability of this drug because of the stories that many parents have come forward with about their teens experiencing the negative effects of Etizolam.
The drug has not been scheduled or regulated yet along with a whole list of substances that the DEA will need to review and potentially ban. There are already pending proposals to ban Etizolam in several states but a federal ban requires an act of Congress and could take years to complete.
Ultra potent drugs like Etizolam often slip through the cracks and gain popularity because of their legal status and the easy access available even to young teenagers. People experimenting with these kinds of drugs may not be aware of the potential dangers because they are so new and not tested for any of the side effects that could occur in certain individuals.
Teens taking research chemicals like Etizolam have already been experiencing seizures, overdoses and other reactions that put them in the hospital. In order to reduce the availability of this drug there needs to be a ban on the local and state level first and then eventually federal legislation that would make Etizolam illegal to purchase online.