Crystal Meth / Tina8. September 2023
PrEP pharmacies26. January 2024
What is Monkey Dust?
Monkey Dust is a powerful stimulant drug. The nickname usually refers to the substance MDPHP. However, several slight chemical variants with similar effects are also in circulation.
Roughly, Monkey Dust can be understood as a smokable, stronger, more compulsive and riskier variant of mephedrone & 3-MMC – similarly to how crystal meth is a smokable, stronger, more compulsive and riskier variant of speed.
Monkey Dust has seen increasing use in parts of the Berlin chemsex scene and in certain sex clubs since 2023. It is not prevalent in techno clubs.
Monkey Dust can come as crystals, chunks or as a fine powder, ranging in color from off-white to brown. Certain forms may have a smell resembling that of cum.
Caution: According to users, Monkey Dust can especially easily lead to a loss of control over the amount and duration of use. Reports of side effects including anxiety and paranoia are common. The risk of experiencing such consequences is described as even higher than with crystal meth. Support services have recently reported a notable prevalence of monkey dust use among those seeking professional help in connection with chemsex.
Little is known about Monkey Dust at this point. It is a “new psychoactive substance” or “research chemical” with hardly any scientifically proven facts available regarding risks, side effects and long-term consequences. Expertise within the community is similarly lacking – including on the question of whether and how the use of Monkey Dust can be kept unproblematic over time.
Chemically, Monkey Dust belongs to a particular subset of the synthetic cathinones, a class of stimulant drugs. The members of that subset are sometimes called “pyros”, as they are variations of a substance called pyrovalerone (PV). MDPV was the first member of this group that spread as a recreational drug from around 2010, and which was first nicknamed “monkey dust”. Further sibling substances are known as α-PVP and α-PHiP (alias alpha-PiHP or A-PHiP). In other scenes, monkey dust may be called “PeeVee” or “Flex”.
Beware of mix-ups: Drugchecking.berlin has reported multiple incidences of supposed mephedrone samples turning out to be alpha-PHiP. Sporadically, alpha-PiHP has also turned up in 2-CB pills. Due to the differing dosages and durations of action, as well as possible side effects, such a mix-up or mislabeling is particularly dangerous!
How is Monkey Dust taken?
Monkey Dust is usually smoked. It may also be snorted, parachuted (swallowed, e.g. in a gelcap or wrapped in rolling paper), boofed (inserted rectally, dissolved in a little water) or slammed (injected intravenously).
The substance MDPHP has the distinctive property of being available in two different forms: as a freebase or hydrochloride salt (HCl). Because the freebase is insoluble in water and tends to clog mucous membranes, it isn’t suitable for snorting or boofing.
Beware: Precise dosing is often practically impossible because the concentration and purity of different batches varies widely. Drug checking can identify the exact substance you have and its purity.
Common dose: approx. 20–40mg
Onset: after approx. 30–60 minutes (depending on stomach contents; may even take longer)
Duration: 3–8 hours
Orally, without any additional substances and without redosing is the lowest-risk way of using monkey dust. Oral use minimizes the compulsive effects that occur strongly when smoking and snorting.
Common dose: ca. 5–10mg
Onset: within minutes
Initial rush: 30–45 minutes
Duration: 2–6 hours
Caution: When smoking, a strong urge to redose occurs after a short initial rush (approx. 30–45 minutes). If you already redose at that point, the stimulation, which lasts for several hours, continuously builds up. Presumably, this greatly increases the risk of unpleasant side effects.
Common dose: around 10–20mg
Onset: after a few minutes
Duration: 2–4 hours
Caution: Despite its chemical relation to mephedrone, Monkey Dust is dosed much lower. If you were to take as large a line as you are used to with mephedrone, the effects would be much stronger and you would be sure to experience unpleasant side effects!
Aftereffects of Monkey Dust (e.g. insomnia and increased heart rate) can last for 6–12 hours, irrespective of the route of administration.
How does it feel?
Caution: Substances can have different effects on different people. The effects depend on factors such as body mass, tolerance, dose and current stomach contents (in case of oral use). Your mental and physical condition and the setting play an important role.
Monkey Dust can have the following effects:
- sexual desire
- increased motivation
- suppressed hunger and thirst
- increased focus
- urge to redose
You may experience attraction to more people and different kinds of people than when you are sober.
Side effects and long-term impact
The following chapters on side effects and long-term effects are mainly based on user experiences and reports.
Common side effects
- increased heart rate
- high blood pressure
- dry mouth
- jaw clenching (“gurning”)
- increased aggression
- erection problems
- muscle twitching
In case of overdose
- life-threatening overheating
- severe increase in blood pressure
- severe increase in heart rate
- dangerous psychotic states
These symptoms can occur when coming down and after use:
- paranoia and delusions
- feelings of guilt
- headache and aching limbs
- memory lapses
- problems concentrating
- inner restlessness
- muscle cramps
With increasing duration and/or frequency of use, the following effects become more and more likely:
- cardiovascular problems
- weakened immune system (and thus more frequent infections)
- severe weight loss
- social withdrawal
If you feel persistently unwell, overheated or anxious, seek medical help.
If you find an unconscious person, check whether they are breathing, provide first aid and call an ambulance (112).
For acute psychotic disorders, Charité offers special consultation on party drug-associated illnesses in Berlin, but you can also visit any emergency room. Further information on psychoses in the chemsex context.
Caution: Using multiple substances at the same time puts extra strain on your body and mind. Certain effects may be intensified, weakened or delayed by the interactions. The risk of overdose or side effects becomes unpredictable.
- Monkey Dust + alcohol: Monkey Dust masks the effects of alcohol. This makes alcohol poisoning more likely!
- Monkey Dust + speed / cocaine / crystal meth (Tina) or other stimulants: Puts intense strain on your cardiovascular system. Overheating and passing out becomes more likely. Unpleasant side effects are intensified.
- Monkey Dust + GBL/GHB: These substances partially mask each other’s effects. When the stimulation from Monkey Dust wears off, the anesthetic effects of G can suddenly impact you to a dangerous extent. In turn, the anxiety-reducing effects of G can temporarily mask the side effects of too much Monkey Dust and thus encourage excessive use.
- Monkey Dust + cannabis: Cannabis can likely intensify the psychotic effects of Monkey Dust.
- Monkey Dust + ecstasy/MDMA: Stimulants increase the neurotoxicity of MDMA. Your heart is put under additional strain.
- Monkey Dust + ketamine: The dissociative effect of ketamine can have a negative impact on the paranoid side effects of MDPHP and possibly amplify them.
- Monkey Dust + MAO inhibitors, psychiatric medications or certain other medications (DXM, Tramadol): May cause a dangerous excess of serotonin (serotonin syndrome). This can result in a life-threatening increase in blood pressure and severe fever.
Addiction potential and withdrawal
Monkey Dust produces intense cravings to redose, which encourages compulsive and excessive use. The unpleasant comedown can make it even harder to end a session.
A tolerance for the desired effects develops very quickly. Achieving the same results then requires increasing your dose. This will also increase the chance of unpleasant side effects.
Monkey Dust has a high addiction potential, especially for psychological dependence. Some users report intense cravings and compulsive redosing even when they already experience major negative consequences.
- Use drug checking and note current substance alerts.
- Exercise caution if you are affected by mental illness or if past experiences indicate you may be at risk for psychosis: This may greatly increase your risk of experiencing psychological side effects. A family history of schizophrenia is also a risk factor.
- Cardiovascular or metabolic disorders significantly increase your health risk. If possible, avoid using Monkey Dust or seek further advice on your individual situation.
- Only use Monkey Dust well-rested, as sleep deprivation increases the risk of psychological side effects.
- Anticipate and plan for the urge to redose: For example, opt for oral use or make a sober decision on how much/how long you want to use, and ensure that you have no further supply on hand.
- Consider in advance how you might deal with any psychological side effects such as anxiety and paranoia. Is there a sober person around who you trust and who you can turn to, if necessary? Do you have access to anxiety medication?
- Try only a small amount at first, wait for the effects to unfold and don’t redose too quickly.
- Weigh your dose carefully. Just a few milligrams too much can trigger an overdose with unpleasant side effects. Use a milligram scale (available online).
- If anxiety or paranoia occurs, stop using immediately. Any further use, though it may temporarily stave off these effects, will ultimately potentiate them.
- Avoid overheating: Take regular breaks (e.g. from sex), get some fresh air, drink water and/or open a window.
- If you find yourself gurning, chewing gum can help protect your teeth and the inside of your cheeks.
- If you regularly use further substances to come down (e.g. G or benzos), you may also become dependent on these.
- Plan enough time for recovery. After using, you may feel moody, exhausted or irritable.
- Take breaks of at least 4 to 6 weeks between stimulant use.. This will give your body the chance to recover and minimize the risk of developing tolerance and dependence.
- Monkey Dust disinhibits you and may cause you to pay less attention to safer sex. This increases your HIV and STI infection risk.
- The pain-killing effects can make you have sex longer and more vigorously, which facilitates injuries and infections.
- Monkey Dust makes you want to have sex for a long time. When using condoms, replace the condom every half hour – or consider a different safer sex strategy. If you are on PrEP or medication, make sure you take it every 24 hours – for example, set a reminder on your phone.
- Sex on Monkey Dust only works with consent and trust. Clarify beforehand which sex acts everyone wants and where their boundaries lie.
- Only get so high that you can still clearly express what you want and don’t want and can still recognise any negative signals from your partner. Monkey Dust can increase your self-centeredness and aggression during sex.
- Before you get down to business, make sure you have enough safer sex equipment (gloves, condoms, lube) ready.
- Pay attention to your body! See a doctor about any abnormal changes.
- Get tested regularly! If you have multiple/changing sex partners, get tested for sexually transmitted infections at least once a year and check your vaccination status for hepatitis A/B.
Interactions with HIV treatment
- Take drugs and HIV medication at different times. This might decrease the chance of side-effects. Always keep the dose of drugs low when taking medication at the same time.
- Since little is known about new psychoactive substances, no definitive statements can be made about potential interactions – especially since different substances may be labeled as Monkey Dust.
- Interactions with antiretroviral therapies are possible. Concomitant use of a CYP2D6 inhibitor such as Ritonavir may increase Monkey Dust levels, but further investigation is needed. (source)
- Talk to your doctor about the interactions of your HIV medication and drugs!
- Since it may be a long night, bring enough medication with you and stick to your medication schedule.
Would you like to talk to somebody about your substance use? Do you have questions or are you looking for support? Do you want to share or reflect on any experiences? Do you feel that you might be using too much? Are you worried about friends or acquaintances and would like advice or tips on how to handle the situation? Counseling centers in Berlin are there for you!
24/7 counseling hotline by Drogennotdienst Berlin: 030 19237
- PsychonautWiki: MDPHP
- The Drug Classroom: MDPHP
- TripSit Factsheet: MDPHP
- PsychonautWiki: A-PiHP
- Meph, Badesalz | HIV & Drogen (hiv-drogen.de)
- Stolbach et.al. 2015: A Review of the Toxicity of HIV Medications
- Conversations with users (August 2023)
- Research of posts by users on Eve&Rave, Reddit & Bluelight (October 2023)