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MDBP is a class of designer drugs in the piperazine family

Methylenedioxybenzylpiperazines (MDBP) is a designer drug in the piperazine family of chemicals, and the benzylpiperazines more specifically. Though the purpose of this drug is for research and forensic use only, chemicals of this type have been abused, with an uptick of documented recreational usage in recent years. Exploration, research, and illicit synthesis or use of these designer drugs is all likely to continue. Methods for making amphetamines can be used to synthesize methylenedioxybenzylpiperazines as well, so there is little additional chemistry to learn.

Benzylpiperazines have aromatic rings that have various substitutes on one of the rings, such as a methyl group, chlorine atom, bromine atom, fluorine atom, a trifluoromethyl group, or a methoxy group.

The chemical formula is C12H16N2O2 • 2HCl and the molecular weight for the crystalline solid is 293.2 g/mol.

It is difficult to distinguish among specific MDBP chemicals because mass spectrometry, the primary forensic toxicological method, cannot distinguish between regioisomers and thus gas chromatography coupled with infrared detection (GC-IRD) spectrometry is needed to confirm individual drug identifications. GC-IRD can do this without the need for chemical reactions that modify the molecule. Gas chromatography can, however, identify unique metabolites in urine after acid hydrolysis, liquid/liquid extraction and microwave-assisted acetylation.

Piperazines are similar in effect to ecstasy, and mimics serotonin by activating 5-HT receptor subtypes thereby releasing dopamine and norepinephrine to the nervous system. User reports document feelings of love, emotional closeness, and empathy. The effects of methylenedioxybenzylpiperazines are also similar to another class of psychoactive chemicals called empathogens.

Legal restrictions of MDBPs would require putting many chemicals available globally from many companies under national control for a given country. Thus, it is unlikely that controlling piperazine (the precursor chemical) will solve problems associated with the illicit market of these chemicals. At least one type of MDBP (4-bromo-2,5-dimethoxybenzylpiperazine) has been reported as an ingredient in an illicit sample in both the United States and Europe.

See Also:

  • 1-Piperonylpiperazine
  • 1-(3,4-Methylenedioxybenzyl)piperazine
  • 2-A1MP
  • 2C-B-BZP
  • 3-Chlorophenylpiperazine