A new recreational drug alpha-PVP (known as “flakka”) seems to be as potent and addictive as MDPV (known as “bath salts”), a chemically related entity. Findings from this study are published online in Psychopharmacology.

Alpha-PVP was thought to be somehow worse than MDPV but study findings support that the two entities are similar. Prior research has shown MDPV to be more addicting than crystal meth. Alpha-PVP is a synthetic stimulant that was legal until the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) temporarily banned it in early 2014. Due to its potency and low cost, its use has grown in certain parts of the country.

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Researchers from The Scripps Institute used a standard animal model of addiction potential in which rats are trained to press a lever to infuse themselves with small doses. As the researchers increased the number of presses needed for another dose, the rats continued to press up to 100 times per dose. When compared against MDPV, self-administration of alpha-PVP showed an nearly identical potency to induce lever presses. The two drugs also demonstrated almost the same ability to induce class stimulant effects such as boosting physical activity and disrupting body temperature.

Researchers emphasize that alpha-PVP is a highly dangerous drug like MDPV with comparable potency and addictive potential.

For more information visit scripps.edu.