What is 2C-P and is there increased concern after Louella Fletcher-Michie’s death?

Jamie Roberton

Former Health and Science Producer

The tragic death of Louella Fletcher-Michie has raised the profile of the little-known party drug 2C-P.

With festival season approaching, we spoke to drug specialists about its potency and prevalence.

  • What is 2C-P?

Class A drug 2C-P is a powerful hallucinogenic drug.

It is part of the "2C series" - also including 2CB, 2CI and 2CE - that were first discovered by chemist Alexander Shugin in the 1970s.

Within this group, 2C-P is incredibly niche - mainly due to its deeply intense and uncomfortable side effects.

"It has a long duration, often uncomfortable side effects and is known for producing introspectively challenging trips," Guy Jones, a senior chemist, told ITV News.

Side effects can include abnormally fast heart rate, increased blood pressure and heightened body temperature.

  • Have any other deaths been linked to the drug?

Louella died after taking the little-known party drug at Bestival.

Louella is believed to be the first person in the world to die after taking the substance at Bestival festival in September 2017, according to evidence given at the trial of her killer.

"As far as I can tell, there has never been a recorded case in scientific literature of 2C-P causing a death," toxicologist Dr Stephen Morley told jurors.

There have been reports of hospitalisations with several people taken ill - and some even reportedly having to be resuscitated - at a concert in the US state of Conneticut in 2013.

A separate incident in Cork, Ireland in 2016 was also picked up by local media.

  • Is there growing concern?

Yes and no.

2C-P is still regarded as an extremely rare drug and used by a minority experimenting with other hallucinogenics like LSD and magic mushrooms.

The youth workers we spoke to say there is no suggestion that 2C-P is a trending drug among young people, with little chat at festivals or appetite to illegally purchase the drug on the street or even the dark web.

But with a potential spike in interest following recent media coverage, there is a desire to reinforce the explicit warnings about the drug’s potency and potential for more devastating consequences, especially when taken in conjunction with alcohol or other drugs like MDMA or ketamine, as was the case with Louella.

Magic mushrooms and LSD are more popular forms of hallucinogenic drugs. Credit: AP

"To give you an idea of risk with 2C-P, a light dose might be 2mg and a strong dose 15mg but 2C-I [another variant of the group] would be 5mg light and 50mg strong," one researcher said.

"So there's very little margin for error here really, especially if you’re taking it in a field and it’s one of a few white powders which are around."

Guy Jones believes the harrowing details that have emerged from Winchester Crown Court in recent weeks should serve as a wider lesson to those contemplating experimenting with any drug."

"Louella’s case is probably most heartbreaking because, as the court case has covered, it’s likely that had she not taken the combination she did, or had­ her boyfriend sought help sooner, it's possible that she could have been saved," he said.

"In my mind there is a really important message here about the value of 'good Samaritan' welfare policies and the importance of encouraging young people to understand the difference between 'being a bit out of it, it’ll wear off' and 'this isn’t normal, this person might be in danger.'"

Advice that Ceon Broughton should start heeding as he starts a prison sentence in the knowledge that he could have saved his girlfriend - instead of filming her as she lay dying.

Ceon Broughton, who filmed his girlfriend suffering an extreme reaction to a drug he had given her at a festival, has been jailed for manslaughter. Credit: PA

For any advice around 2C-P, or for any recreational drug at all, you should contact drugs helpline [Talk to Frank](http://0300 1236600) on 0300 1236600 or check out the NHS drugs advice page