Tech UPTechnology'Pink cocaine' or 'tusi', the new trendy drug?

'Pink cocaine' or 'tusi', the new trendy drug?

The number of new synthetic drugs coming onto the market is growing every year. They are relatively easy and inexpensive to prepare, and take attractive shapes and colors . Its producers take advantage of the slowness of the law , and enjoy a period of regulatory vacuum , before entering the list of controlled substances.

Among those drugs that seek to attract new customers is a striking pink powder , the growing use of which is reported by police authorities , both in Europe and in the US . Some media outlets have baptized it as ‘ pink cocaine ‘, the new trendy drug . But the truth is that it has nothing to do with cocaine , and it is not a new drug either .

So the nickname ‘ cocaine pink ‘ is a mistake. While cocaine is a hydrochloride (an acid salt) made from the leaves of the coca plant, Erythroxylum coca , the so-called pink cocaine has nothing to do with the alkaloid of the famous white powder .

This pink powder , sometimes found in tablet form, is known on the street as ‘ tusi ‘. And it costs about €100 per gram . But, as we will now see, its popular name hides another confusion .

The word ‘ tusi ‘ is an abbreviation of ‘ tusibí ‘, which in turn is the adaptation of the English Two CB (2C-B) . The name refers to a chemical , a psychedelic phenylethylamine from the 2C family, with the scientific name 4-bromo-2,5-dimethoxyphenylethylamine .

It was synthesized by Harvard organic chemist Alexander Shulgin in the early 1970s . 2C-B was marketed as a libido enhancer and to treat erectile dysfunction , under the name Performax , Erox , or Nexus , as it is still known on the street. Sold in the form of capsules or colored tablets, it became quite popular in well-off nightclubs , until, starting in 1995, the US classified it as a controlled substance , after concluding that it had a high potential for abuse . Little by little, the rest of the countries were prohibiting it.

But, although it takes its name, ‘ tusibi ‘ rarely contains 2C-B , and it is not a molecule but a compound made up of several substances , none of them new.

Of the samples of pink powder analyzed , only 5% contained phenylethylamine 2C-B , as warned by different associations for risk reduction in the field of recreational drug use, such as Échele Cabeza (Colombia) and the Association Well-being and Development , with its Energy Control program (Spain).


If the pink drug has nothing to do with cocaine, if 95% of the samples analyzed have no trace of 2C-B , the obvious question is: what is it made of ? And worst of all is the answer: it depends .

It depends on what they have wanted to put those who make it. Surely they took advantage of the prestige that Dr. Shulgin ‘s phenylethylamine acquired among consumers, decades ago, to give a pig in a poke and sneak a pink powder made up of all kinds of psychostimulant substances as 2C-B .

Most of the time, the mysterious pink powder contains a mixture of ketamine , MDMA , and caffeine , in highly variable proportions depending on the particular “recipe.”

Among the samples , amphetamines have also appeared and, in a few cases, even drugs such as salicylic acid (raw material of aspirin), levamisole (used to treat parasites) and dextromethorphan (a component of cough syrup) .

There was rarely any 2C-B and, surprise, cocaine (it only appeared in two samples out of seventy-two ), along with ketamine and MDMA .

The effects of ‘ tusibi ‘ are very difficult to predict. The problem is twofold; first, mixing alters the effects that the drugs would have if consumed separately, and second, the proportion of these substances is extremely variable from one sample to another.

Common are effects on cognition , the senses , and mood , including, depending on the dose, hallucinations . Its users describe sensations similar to those caused by MDMA (a substance known as ‘ em ‘ or crystal ) and LSD (popularly called acid ), including feelings of euphoria and well -being, raw emotions and distortions in the perception of time and the space . Like all psychotropics , it can cause adverse effects , such as anxiety, confusion, and nausea.

Some of the samples analyzed by Energy Control between 2019 and 2021 contained only 5% ketamine , while in others, the percentage reached 72% . MDMA had a presence that ranged between 1% and 24% , and caffeine ranged from 2% to 48% of the total content of each gram of ‘tusi’.

The danger this entails is obvious. A powder with the same color and the same name may contain completely different substances or concentrations.

The risks of not knowing what one consumes multiply the risks that substances already have in themselves. For example, mixing ketamine with MDMA and caffeine (the most common ‘ tusi ‘ mix) does not seem like a good idea considering that ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic , the effect of which will be counteracted by the stimulation of MDMA and caffeine . A considerable mess for our body .

In conclusion, ‘ tusibí ‘ is a commercial packaging for compounds that could be dangerous , and against which the utmost caution should be advised. It is not 2C-B , nor is it cocaine , nor is it a single substance , nor is it a new drug . The only thing left, in the end, is pink.



Nugteren-van Lonkhuyzen, J. J. 2015. Pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and toxicology of new psychoactive substances (NPS): 2C-B, 4-fluoroamphetamine and benzofurans. Drug and alcohol dependence, 157, 18-27. DOI: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2015.10.011

Orhurhu, V. J. et al. 2019. Ketamine toxicity. StatPearls.

Papaseit, E., 2018. Acute pharmacological effects of 2C-B in humans: an observational study. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 9, 206. DOI: 10.3389/fphar.2018.00206


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