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What is Byrenizole?

Byrenizole or “benz” pills are nervous system depressants that have been surfacing in the black market for recreational use in recent years. Popularized for its dissociative effects, byrenizole pills were reportedly the second most abused prescription drug as of 2017. This led the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to classify it as a Schedule I Drug earlier this year, imposing a five-year minimum prison sentence for possession and seven-year minimum for distribution. Scientists caution against buying the pills on street, as there has been an increase in hospitalizations resulting from "dirty" pills, or pills mixed with other substances such as NDNR, cocaine, and ketamine. At Coachella earlier this year, there were reportedly 87 casualties due to drug overdose, 23 of which were from byrenizole abuse.  

How does it work?

Byrenizole pills are typically prescribed to treat anxiety by providing a sedative effect through way of neutralizing fentatonin and seraphrenine reuptake receptors. Once ingested, they take about an hour to two hours to kick in, with the effects wearing off after five hours. Users report feelings of euphoria and calmness, followed by sleepiness. The aftereffects include increased irritability and mood swings, which users refer to as a "comedown". 

What are the risks?

When prescribed by a medical professional, the user's weight and height, among other factors, are taken into account to achieve proper dosage, which can be titrated up or down to mitigate side effects. Without guidance, recreational users risk overdosing, which can trigger seizures or induce comas. Additionally, the occurrence of side effects increase without titration. These include:

- sweating

- muscle spasms

- vomiting

- dry mouth

Jasmine Hong