OLR Research Report

October 11, 2013




By: James Orlando, Associate Attorney

You asked for background information on the drug “2C-P” and whether it is a controlled substance.

2C-P is a synthetic hallucinogenic drug. It is a “designer drug” – that is, a drug designed to evade drug laws but have similar properties as an illegal drug. 2C-P belongs to the 2C series of drugs (ring-substituted phenethylamines) similar in chemical structure to Ecstasy. The full chemical name for 2C-P is 2-(2,5-Dimethoxy-4-(n)-propylphenyl) ethanamine.

At low dosages, 2C drugs generally produce stimulating effects. Moderate or higher dosages generally produce hallucinogenic effects. Other effects of these drugs may include euphoria, increased empathy, and increased sensory perception. Users may experience nausea, vomiting, agitation, seizures, or other negative reactions; deaths have been associated with use of certain 2C drugs (Dean, 2013; Hill, 2011).

2C-P is a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law (21 USC 812; 21 CFR 1308.11). Schedule I drugs are those that have been determined to (1) have a high potential for abuse, (2) have no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and (3) not be safe for use under medical supervision (21 USC 812). 2C-P was added to the Federal Controlled Substances Act effective July 9, 2012, as part of the Synthetic Drug Abuse and Prevention Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-144, Title XI, Subtitle D). That act added 26 substances to the list of Schedule I drugs, including nine 2C series substances.

In Connecticut, controlled substances are listed in Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) regulations (Conn. Agencies Reg., 21a-243-7 to 21a-243-11). 2C-P is not currently on Connecticut's list of controlled substances. DCP has the authority to add substances to the controlled substances list by regulation; the legislature can also enact legislation directing the department to amend its regulations to add specific substances to the list. According to Gary Berner, DCP's legislative liaison, the department is actively considering amending its regulations to add 2C-P to the list of Schedule I controlled substances.

Because 2C-P is not a controlled substance under Connecticut law, someone could not be prosecuted under state law for its possession or use. According to Gary Berner, there is frequent communication between local, state, and federal law enforcement authorities and state and federal prosecutors regarding controlled substances, including situations where a drug is on either the state or federal schedule but not the other. In such a situation involving the presence of a drug in Connecticut that is only on the federal schedule, state authorities may refer the information to federal authorities.

The Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) National Forensic Laboratory Information System (NFLIS) collects drug identification results from drug cases analyzed by forensic laboratories. According to an NFLIS report, the number of 2C series phenethylamine reports to state or local forensic laboratories increased from 28 in 2006 to 228 in 2010. Only one of these reports involved 2C-P. There were no 2C series reports in Connecticut in 2006 and one in 2010. However, recent news reports linked 2C-P to suspected overdoses at an electronic music dance show in Connecticut.


DEA, Office of Diversion Control, NFLIS, Special Report: Emerging 2C-Phenethylamines, Piperazines, and Tryptamines in NFLIS,

2006-2011, available at http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/nflis/spec_rpt_emerging_2012.pdf.

Dean, B. V. et al. 2C or Not 2C: Phenethylamine Designer Drug Review. J. Med. Toxicology (2013) 9:172-178.

Hill, S. and Thomas, S. Clinical Toxicology of Newer Recreational Drugs. Clinical Toxicology (2011) 49, 705-719.

Rondinone, N. Drug Overdoses Shut Down Concert At Quassy Park. Hartford Courant (Sept. 23, 2013), available at http://articles.courant.com/2013-09-23/community/hc-middlebury-concert-drugs-0923-20130922_1_drug-overdoses-synthetic-drug-use-new-drug.