First detection of flualprazolam in Thailand raises concerns in southern provinces

Image via Bangkok Post

The tranquilliser flualprazolam is seeing rampant use in Thailand’s southernmost provinces, according to officials. This follows the detection of the substance in nimetazepam pills by the Regional Medical Sciences Centre 12 in Songkhla. The discovery marks the first occurrence of flualprazolam in Thailand.

The Department of Medical Sciences‘ director-general, Supakit Sirilak, made it known yesterday that the Centre was tasked with analysing the nimetazepam pills, also known as Erimin 5. This drug is classified as a Category 2 psychotropic substance. During analysis, it was flualprazolam that was found present in the pills.

Flualprazolam is a benzodiazepine class tranquilliser, typically utilised in the treatment of panic disorders, and insomnia, and for alleviating anxiety. Previous reports from 2013 showed the presence of nimetazepam, nitrazepam, phenazepam, diazepam, clozapine and etizolam in Erimin 5mg pills. Fast forward to 2021, flualprazolam was discovered in Malaysia and Singapore.

Despite being illegal in Thailand, Erimin 5 is being widely used, especially in Narathiwat, one of the four southernmost provinces. The other three provinces include Pattani, Yala, and Songkhla.

Supakit also pointed out the possibility of other substances being combined with nimetazepam in a bid to evade prosecution. He noted that flualprazolam is a synthetic benzodiazepine, bearing a similar chemical compound to the sedative alprazolam, which is also a Category 2 psychotropic medication.

While flualprazolam is not a prescribed medication and clinical research on it remains undisclosed, Supakit indicated that its chemical structure suggests its effects could manifest within 10-30 minutes and endure for 6-14 hours.

In similar news, a few months back, a motorcycle delivery rider in Samut Prakan, made a surprising discovery when he opened a package that was meant to be an empty mobile phone box, only to find it contained a sachet of the illegal drug ketamine. To read the full story, click HERE.

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HealthThailand News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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