Piperazines are very broad chemical group, covering a wide range of drugs from antidepressants to antihistamines. The connecting property of all these chemicals is the presence of a piperazine functional group. Piperazine is a fairly basic compound. Recreational use of certain piperazines is due to the much desired effects that are experienced with MDMA. This section on piperazines will refer solely to these recreationally used derivatives, focusing predominantly on BZP, TFMPP and mCPP.
BZP, full name benzylpiperazine, is most commonly found in ecstasy tablets but can also be found pure in both tablet and powder form. BZP was studied as a potential anti-depressant, but was found to have euphoric qualities similar to amphetamine so studies were stopped.
TFMPP, full name 1-(3-trifluoromethylphenyl)piperazine, is rarely taken on its own, but is more commonly mixed with such substances as BZP and pressed into pill form. The mixture is made to try and mimic the effects of MDMA, where TFMPP is meant to reproduce the psychedelic effects of MDMA, and BZP the euphoric effects. The BZP/TFMPP mixture can be found on its own or in ecstasy pills.
mCPP’s full name is m-chlorophenylpiperazine was a research chemical initially synthesised in the late 1970s as a potential anti-depressant. The drug has never been licenced for medical use, but is known to metabolite some anti-depressants. Recreational use was first reported across Europe and many other countries in the mid-2000s due to an eruption of the substance being sold as a ‘designer drug’ that mimicked the effects of MDMA. mCPP is another stimulant that is also found regularly in ecstasy pills.