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Health Ministry Issues Warning against Russian Drug Phenazepam



A psychoactive drug used to treat epilepsy and anxiety in Russia is increasingly being misused by young people


BANGKOK – The Public Health Ministry is issuing a warning against pills containing Phenazepam, which has been proven to have lethal side effects.

According to the ministry, the drug’s effect can last up to 60 hours. Prolonged use may result in loss of coordination, drowsiness, amnesia and even death.

A number of cases associated with the misuse of Phenazepam-based pills have been reported in the South. Nearly 2,500 tablets have recently been confiscated in Songkla Province. Phenazepam is categorized as type 2 controlled substance in Thailand and has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

The ministry warned that the penalty for smuggling and distributing such illicit drugs is a jail sentence of up to 10 years and a fine of up to 300,000 baht.

Phenazepam is a benzodiazepine drug, which was developed in the Soviet Union in 1974. It is currently produced in Russia and a number of Eastern European countries. The drug is used to treat neurological disorders such as epilepsy, alcohol withdrawal syndrome, and insomnia. Recently, phenazepam has gained popularity as a recreational drug with misuse being reported in the United Kingdom, Finland, Sweden, and the United States.

Phenazepam is used to dampen symptoms of epilepsy and anxiety. It is not licensed for medical use in Thailand and is only prescribed in Russia and former Soviet bloc countries.

The drug has a similar sedative effect as Valium and can maker the user feel drowsy and uncoordinated.

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