STP is a synthetic hallucinogen, whose chemical name is 2,5-dimethoxy-4-methylamphetamine. It is often referred to as DOM, STP being its street name which is short for serenity, tranquility and peace. Like other more well-known hallucinogens, such as LSD and hallucinogenic mushrooms, STP alters the users’ state of mind. This is called a “trip”.
This chemical is entirely man-made and was first synthesized by the famous counter-cultural chemist and pharmacologist Alexander Shulgin. Shulgin is often referred to as the “Godfather of Ecstasy” because of his scientific and often personal experimentation with MDMA. He also actively worked to create new chemicals that could be used for psychedelic experiments as part of his legitimate work for the chemical company DOW. STP (DOM) is one of the results.
Shulgin first synthesized the drug in 1964, based in part on the chemical structure of mescaline, a psychedelic substance from the peyote cactus. He described the synthesis of this drug and the subjective results of his tests on himself and many other substances in his famous book PIHKAL (Phenethylamines I Have Known and Loved). The drug experiences he recounts gave him euphoria and heightened sensitivity to color, but also intense hallucinations and frightening delusions.
To do this, Shulgin absorbed doses from 1 to 12mg (the latter being, according to him, much too strong). Nevertheless, in 1967, at the height of the “Summer of Love” in San Francisco, DOM tablets labelled STP appeared on the street with 20mg of active ingredient. This high dose, coupled with the slow onset of the drug’s effects (hence the need for additional doses) resulted in a large number of non-fatal overdoses, during which users had terrifying experiences that caused them to panic and seek emergency medical help.In the United States, STP was made illegal in 1973 and many states followed suit.
The effects of PTS are similar to those of LSD and trigger a series of psychedelic effects after taking it. These include hallucinations, euphoria, distorted perceptions and cognitions, and delusions.
Little is known about current trends in PTS (or DOM) use, but it is believed to be sold on the street by clandestine labs and small-time chemists.
STP (short for “serenity, tranquility and peace”) is the street name for the synthetic drug called DOM (2,5-dimethoxy-4-methylamphetamine).
The name STP is thought to have originated with the first big launch of the drug in the 1960s in San Francisco. At that time, few people knew that this drug called STP was actually DOM, which led to further problems in treating overdoses. In the emergency room, those affected were given Thorazine, a standard treatment for LSD overdoses, which only enhanced the powerful effects of DOM.
Some believe that STP also stands for “Stop the Police” and “Super Terrific Psychedelic”. Alexander Shulgin himself says that during the hippie period, the police often nicknamed the drug “Too Stupid to Puke”.
The letters STP were also the name of a famous American brand of fuel additive, which led some people to think that the two products were related, which was never the case.
As a hallucinogenic drug, PTS induces various psychological and physiological effects, which constitute a “trip”. These effects vary greatly depending on the amount taken and the individual, but they are generally visual and auditory hallucinations, heightened perception of colors, textures, etc., euphoria and other psychedelic effects common with drugs such as LSD and mescaline.
One of the main risks of using PTS (or DOM) is taking too large a dose. The drug is relatively rare and people who are more familiar with LSD and other hallucinogenic drugs may unintentionally take an amount much higher than the active dose. Also, because the effects of the drug do not appear for 1-2 hours, it is not uncommon for a person to take an extra dose, thinking that the drug is not “working” at that time. No fatal overdoses have been reported, but in general, people who overdose on PTS panic and become increasingly anxious, and in some cases, temporarily psychotic. There are also scientific reports that an overdose can cause seizures and fatal toxic reactions.
Like other psychedelic drugs, users can also experience a “bad trip,” which is characterized by negative and unpleasant hallucinations, intense anxiety, delusions and paranoia. They may feel as if they are going crazy or dying.
Under the influence of drugs, a person will be less able to respond appropriately to their environment. They will be at high risk of accidental injury or mishap, and users who are not accustomed to hallucinogenic drugs may act dangerously based on their delusions and hallucinations.
PTS (or DOM) is a fully synthetic drug created in a laboratory. It was first synthesized by Alexander Shulgin in 1964, while working for the chemical company DOW. Shulgin started with naturally occurring psychedelic drugs such as mescaline to create a drug for psychedelic use and to treat mental illness. However, as the 1960s progressed, legitimate scientific experiments with hallucinogens were gradually abandoned and the drug was never released or manufactured through traditional channels.
During the early years of the drug’s existence, there were no laws governing its manufacture or possession. It was therefore produced by knowledgeable chemists in laboratories like Shulgin’s. In the U.S., distribution of STP became illegal in 1968, but personal use remained legal. In 1973, the drug became completely illegal and was listed in the Schedule I.
Following this, production became clandestine, so little is known about the location of current manufacturing sites. PTS is probably produced in illegal laboratories in North America, Europe and other developed countries by criminal organizations that also manufacture other synthetic drugs such as MDMA (ecstasy) and “designer” drugs. It may also be produced in smaller quantities by independent chemists with their own laboratories.
Once manufactured, DOM is likely sold to middlemen, illegally exported if necessary, and then sold to street dealers, as is the case with most synthetic drugs. PTS is relatively rare, but can be purchased on the street as a whitish powder or tablet.
FACTS AND STATISTICS
- STP is the street name for the synthetic hallucinogenic drug called DOM (2,5-dimethoxy-4-methylamphetamine).
- STP is short for “serenity, tranquility and peace.”
- The effects of the drug are similar to more well-known psychedelic drugs such as mescaline and LSD.
- The main effects are hallucinations, altered perceptions, cognitive distortions and delusions.
- Users may experience a “bad trip” that they have little control over. There is no way to know in advance if a bad trip will occur.
- The adverse effects experienced by users include anxiety and psychosis.
- PTS was first synthesized by chemist and pharmacologist Alexander Shulgin in 1964.
- In the United States, it is a Schedule I illegal drug.
- In Australia, it is listed in Schedule II under the Drugs Misuse Regulations 1987.
- In the United Kingdom, PTS is considered a Class A drug, along with heroin and cocaine.
- It is listed as a Schedule I substance under the United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances.
- The drug became known following a series of high-profile overdoses in San Francisco during the “Summer of Love” in the 1960s. These overdoses were partly due to too high a dosage and a lack of knowledge of the real content of the product, which was distributed for free.
- This drug is relatively rare in most countries. It is produced in clandestine laboratories.
- Regular use of PTS and other psychedelic drugs can temporarily increase tolerance, which means that the user will have to take higher doses to get the same effects.
- PTS is not considered a chemically addictive substance, but it can be psychologically addictive and can be part of a polyaddiction with other hallucinogenic and illicit drugs.
- The effects of the drug can take 1 to 2 hours to manifest themselves.
- These effects can last up to 24 hours and are often felt for at least 16 hours.
- The “active dose” of STP (or DOM) is 1 to 5mg.
- The drug was distributed in San Francisco in 1967 in the form of 20mg tablets. 5000 doses were distributed to the crowd at a free event there. It is estimated that some people took doses of over 30mg.
- In the United Kingdom, STP is considered a class A drug. Possession of STP is punishable by seven years in prison and an unlimited fine. Distribution of the drug, even to friends, is punishable by life imprisonment and an unlimited fine.
- In the United States, trafficking STP is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. Repeat offenders can be sentenced to 30 years in prison and a $2 million fine.
- In early clinical studies, several volunteers were given a dose of 6mg per day for three days. After the third day, there was a decrease in the dose response of these volunteers, indicating tolerance to the drug.
SIGNS OF DEPENDENCE
Like most hallucinogenic drugs, there is no evidence that PTS (or DOM) is physically addictive in the same way as other Class A drugs such as heroin and cocaine. However, it can be highly addictive psychologically, with profound effects on all aspects of the individual’s life and mental well-being.
In many cases, PTS addiction is part of a generalized psychological dependence on various psychedelic drugs, including LSD, hallucinogenic mushrooms and mescaline, as well as other “synthetic” hallucinogens.
Under the influence of PTS, the user may appear to be absent and react to external stimuli that do not exist. They may be intrigued by seemingly ordinary everyday objects and spend time examining colors, textures and other sensations. He or she may also become delusional or appear anxious and paranoid.
Regular users may seem to gradually lose touch with reality. They may lose interest in their usual interests and not attend to important matters requiring their attention. In some cases, they may act out fantastical delusions or show other signs of mental imbalance.
Small pills may be found in their belongings, but it may be difficult to determine whether they are PTS. The drug may also come in the form of a whitish powder, packaged in a bag or plastic wrap. Other signs of widespread addiction to psychedelic drugs include possession of acid “blotters” with colorful pictures on them, bottles of liquid or dried mushrooms.
Because PTS is not known to be chemically addictive, the side effects of withdrawal are generally minimal and detoxification can be done safely without the use of chemical substitutes or special treatment. Nevertheless, in some cases, the psychological after-effects of long-term PTS use can be more difficult to manage.
Because PTS is a relatively rare drug and is often part of a generalized addiction to psychedelic drugs, there is no specific treatment program. Instead, a comprehensive approach is taken, addressing both the psychological addiction to psychedelic drugs and the consequences of that abuse.
Since there is no significant physical withdrawal effect, it is not necessary for the addict to enter a detoxification center. However, if there are significant mental health issues related to PTS, this option may be preferable.
Once the user has admitted to having a drug problem, the first step is to stop using PTS and other illicit substances. Unless opiates or other chemically addictive drugs are involved, this withdrawal can be immediate, with no gradual decrease in dosage or use.
Even in the absence of physical dependence, the user’s psychological relationship to PTS and other hallucinogenic drugs may be strong. In the early stages of treatment, the user may have an overwhelming urge to “trip” on PTS or another substance.
In general, treatment focuses on the psychological nature of the addiction. Talking therapies and counseling sessions can try to identify the main reasons for the addiction and the triggers that cause the individual to “escape” from everyday reality. Behavior modification therapies such as CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) can then help the individual manage these triggers (which can lead to relapse) and encourage healthy alternative behaviors.
Additionally, support groups with people struggling with similar addictions will also be helpful, promoting a sense of community and providing another type of valuable emotional support during recovery.
People who have used large amounts of psychedelic drugs over a long period of time may need more specialized psychiatric help to return to normal functioning. These people may have difficulty adjusting both to their experiences under the influence of drugs and to the relative normality of a drug-free life. It is not known whether PTS use causes “flashbacks” (sudden mental reappearance of a “trip” months or years after the drug was taken) but this is the case with other psychedelic drugs such as LSD, which can be disturbing for the patient.
Finally, in people who already have latent mental illnesses and personality disorders, the use of psychedelic drugs can trigger these pathologies. In this case, diagnosis and appropriate treatment by a mental health professional will be necessary.