Phenibut – the Russian anti-anxiety drug linked to Gold Coast teens’ overdoses

Phenibut – the Russian anti-anxiety drug linked to Gold Coast teens’ overdoses

Phenibut was initially developed in the 1960s in Russia as an anti-anxiety (anxiolytic) drug with cognitive enhancing properties. It has since attracted a strong following of users in the “smart drug” market, with claims of boosting memory recall and exam performance.

Originally given to Soviet cosmonauts to combat anxiety and insomnia, the powdered drug is suspected to have played a role in the recent overdose of seven teenagers at a Queensland private school.

How it works

Phenibut – also known as pbut, noofen, party powder (or its scientific name β-phenyl-γ-aminobutyric acid and brand name Bifren) – is a psychotropic drug, which means it affects the user’s mental state.

The drug is similar in structure to a type of neurotransmitter known as neurotransmitter γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which plays a role in reducing excitability ...

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