What is MTA?

What is MTA?

MTA is a designer drug created in the 1990s by a team of Purdue University researchers, led by David E. Nichols. Nichols created the drug with the sole intention that it would be used on laboratory animals to help develop a “safer” version of ecstasy or Prozac for use in humans. The drug is a highly selective serotonin releasing agent (SSRA) and also an MAO-A inhibitor. This combination of being both a stimulant and MAO-A inhibitor causes a number of serious side effects. The drug is formally known as 4-Methylthioamphetamine and also called 4-MTA.

What are the physical side effects of MTA use?

The effects of flatliners last about eight hours, delivering a steady increase in energy without a hyperactive mind; instead, users feel energized but calm. Like ecstasy (MDMA), MTA is a potent serotonin releaser. However, unlike ecstasy, users do not experience a euphoric high. This means that many users will take repeated doses of MTA thinking that the tablets are “not working.” MTA use reflects a club drug culture where recreational drugs are becoming increasingly stronger and more dangerous.

What are the dangers of MTA use?

Flatliners are synthesized by amateur chemists and sold as “legal highs”; users have no quality control over the ingredients. Additionally, a reckless willingness within club culture to experiment with different synthetic drugs increases the likelihood of combining MTA with drugs, with potentially deadly results.

The two main physical side effects of MTA – increased energy with a calm mind – are the result of MTA’s being both an SSRA and an MAO-A inhibitor. In layman’s terms, this means the drugs are especially dangerous because one pill causes two opposite, and potentially deadly, reactions within the body. MTA is highly toxic. Within the first year of its use as a club drug in Europe, MTA was implicated in five deaths.


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