A new recreational drug that has become popular with students in recent weeks has been banned in at least one state and under investigation in a number of other states.
NightLights, a single-packaged red horse pill, is sold at shops such as An Even Greater Divide and some places near Atlanta and is said to produce feelings similar to ecstasy.
The product is sold by a company named New Life Herbal Incense. Alibaba.com, the website that sells NightLights and other types of herbal products, is one of the many distributors of this drug.
According to Arrey Fred, sales manager for New Life Herbal Incense, methylenedioxypyrovaleron or MDPV, a psychoactive drug, is the active ingredient contained in the pill.
“It is a research chemical used in making these products,” Fred said.
Once taken, users will experience a feeling of euphoria in about 30 minutes, which keeps consumers coming back to head shops for more.
“It’s like someone lifts every negative thought off your mind and exposes you to everything you were blinded from,” Michael Schwartz, freshman marketing major, said.
Weekends filled with late night parties and going from bar to bar is when NightLights users have the most fun.
“It makes you feel like a champion, coolest kid in the party,” Ben McGaha, freshman dance major said. “The fact that it is legal is definitely the better part.”
MDPV is available in a variety of forms and has become popular in other states in products known as bath salts that go by names such as “Vanilla Sky” and “Ivory Wave,” according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Pennsylvania is one state where legislators are working to ban the substance. A number of incidents have led to the concern including:
•A couple attempted to attack “voices in the wall” and almost slashed their 5-year-old daughter
•A man under the influence of MDPV was caught burglarizing a house and was caught and told police he was “chased by electricity.”
•Two men died in Allegheny National Forest after using MDPV.
According to nj.com in New Jersey, a woman claims that her son was abusing the substance and killed Rutgers University senior Pamela Schmidt.
Louisiana has gotten hold of the circulating popularity and banned the substance. According to News 21, the bath salts are still legal because the label says “not for human consumption.”
Louisiana Senator Larry Farnese banned the product due to an increased crime rate and calls to the Poison Control Center.
Another state has actually banned this potentially dangerous drug. In January, Florida issued an emergency outlaw of MDPV, according to Citrus Daily’s Internet Newspaper.
The product was banned and removed from head shops and convenient stores within days.
The origins of the pill are scarcely known, but it could originate from Limbe, in the Republic of Cameroon, which is a country on the western coast of Africa or an unknown company in California, according to Fred.
Although this pill is only sold to adults 18 and over, there are certain rules sellers stress consumers to abide by.
At An Even Greater Divide, the employees stress to not drive or take more than one pill within 24 hours.
“Honestly, when you’re on it, the last thing you want to do is drive,” Schwartz said. “You just want to be constantly standing and walking around.”
Since NightLights hasn’t been approved by the Food and Drug Administration yet, eyebrows of speculation are rising in question of the health risk of the product.
No employees at An Even Greater Divide were able to comment on the health risks or any other background information on the pill.
While most students are taking the pill regardless, others are hesitant to do so because of the unknowns risk factors involved.
NightLights, for some students, is seen as a substitute for illegal ecstasy. But it does raise words of warning from authorities.
“It just depends on your chemistry,” VSUPD Officer Carolyn Glock said. “I think it comes down to you just have to use your judgment and decide is this good for me.”
Drugs like MDMA, which has similar effects, may seem the same, but without legitimate proof of the same harmful ingredients, there is no case.
“There’s something different about it, just like spice is to marijuana,” freshman Luke Klaer, undecided major, said. “Spice gives you a high feeling, just like NightLights just gives you an intense roll.”