Citation: Reporter. "Accidental Overdose Panic: An Experience with 2C-B (exp76578)". Erowid.org. Feb 3, 2009. erowid.org/exp/76578
||(powder / crystals)
I've been meaning to post to this site about this experience since it happened - but initially it was too close, and then having not been so much in that world lately I haven't thought about it. But I'd like it to be out there so that anyone in the same situation (or rather their friends) might see it and be able to calm the situation down. Also so that anyone who has been and is searching for an account of a similar experience can find one.
To set the scene, I went to a breakcore club in a northern town run by some friends of friends in spring 2006. Had a great time, did a lot of drugs, met new people, caught up with old ones, all the usual really at the time -- but kinda more and better. Got back afterwards and spent the whole early hours into the morning holed up with a kid I'd known from a distance for a while, who was quite a messy one, and his then best friend (we'll call him Jack), who I'd just met. The three of us hit it off like a house on fire, talked about everything, had a million and one wonderful coincidences. We shared everything we had and hence were on lots of different things. The kid had mentioned that he had a large quantity of 2C-B (I think 2 grams) which he was intending to sell/save for other occasions. I’d only had the tiniest bit because I’d never done it before and hadn’t felt much off it. We were taking a lot of ketamine, ecstasy and cocaine largely. We were used to occasions like this, and very happy.
Around 10:30 am the next day I realised it was getting a bit close to the time my train was going -- so I went downstairs, found the friend I’d come up from London and called a taxi. I felt pretty proud of myself for being able to interact so well with the outside world in the state I was in. To celebrate, the kid said he had one gram of coke left which he had been saving, and that me, him and Jack should go upstairs and try and get through as much of it as possible before the taxi arrived. Obviously this was a ridiculous suggestion -- but who at that time in the morning, after a night of partying and exploration which had involved cocaine, wouldn’t say yes? I went upstairs. Jack remained; I think he knew the kid’d bring him some down.
As the kid cut up the lines (which were very sizable, remember we were trying to get through as much as we could in 45 minutes), I noticed that they weren’t quite the right colour. I nearly said something -- but my perceptions were pretty shaken up so I didn’t really trust my judgment. After I took mine I felt a massive burning sensation in my nose and then immediately felt very high. The kid and I laughed a lot. I had giant sparkles in my vision. Somehow the fact that something was wrong still didn’t quite twig. The kid went downstairs to give Jack his line and I stayed and tried to talk to a couple who came into the room. I couldn’t focus. I went out to try and find the others.
As I looked up at the wall something began to change immeasurably. Neon DNA-like strands began to grow out of the wall and get bigger and bigger. Some of them were about the thickness of a tree trunk, all different colours, glowing, metallic. I knew this wasn’t right now, not an effect of cocaine anyway, and cried for help. My first thought, weirdly, was that maybe somehow I’d overdosed on all the drugs, that this was what happened to the world around as you died. The 2C-B started to enter my mind as an option, and as it did so discernable symbols, numbers, letters, began to form in the glowing neon pulsating mess of tangled double helixes. I remember there was a Prince symbol among them. Was the very fabric of the universe disintegrating somehow as a result of how stupid we had been? A giant 3-dimensional 2 came out of the wall, or rather the tangled neon space where the wall had been, and fell -- to all intents and purposes like something physically real and knocked me on the head. I fell to the ground. Downstairs I could hear the kid screaming.
I didn’t actually pass out, in a sense it felt like playing at an overdose only I couldn’t control my actions, experiences or the game. A friend of ours came and picked me up, put her arm around me and tried to get some kind of rational explanation out of me. Between us (and conversations the kid was having downstairs) we managed to work out what had happened. He’d got his wraps mixed up. We’d just done at least 120 mg of 2C-B each. The kid was still screaming downstairs that he’d killed us. Came running upstairs, apologising, screamed some more. The fact he was a nurse made me even more terrified of his reaction, as I felt that he should know the dangers involved. Our friends kept reminding me that he was melodramatic by nature, and not to panic. All I knew was he, Jack, and some of the others had been taking the drug all morning in increments of 15mg or so at most.
The friend who had found me kept trying to turn the trip around for me, and it almost worked. That’s why I want to write this really, because it was a terrifying and ridiculous thing to do, but to all intents and purposes did not in the end seem to affect us physically much at all. I can’t obviously guarantee that would always be the case, but if our case is anything to go by, getting beyond that sort of panic would be the best possible thing to help some of the mental confusion that came out of the whole experience! Some of our friends went to try and look it up on the internet -- see if they could find any examples of people in the same situation being ok. But all they came back with was a tale of Shulgin once taking 100 mg and having an intense trip but being fine. That, even, was enough for me “So it’s an adventure?” I said, visions suddenly filling my mind of the three of us on a life-changing journey. Unexpected, certainly, but full of possibilities. But the kid wasn’t having any of it. He argued that given Shulgin’s experience we couldn’t possibly see that as evidence that we might be likely to be ok.
Throughout the experience to this point I had been feeling such an intense feeling of doom that I swung between feeling that I was dying, the speeding melting neon visions around me simply further evidence of this, or that reality itself was disintegrating, and my state was merely enabling me to perceive it. Yet on hearing this tale about Shulgin I immediately felt excited, high, and full of hope. I felt incredibly frustrated at having this magic carpet whisked from under my feet. By this point an ambulance had been called after much discussion. Everyone was still trying to work out whether or not this was necessary, and I kept forgetting that it had been and saying that I thought maybe it should be. When they replied “they’re coming, you’re going to be fine” it somehow added to my fear, reminding me of movies when people say that to someone who is dying. I felt like my side was melting, reached down and my hand felt sticky as it touched it.
My good friend from London had taken me under his wing by this point and managed to break through my paranoia, telling me about how much he freaked out the first time he did 2C-B, explaining his trip succinctly but in detail. “So it’s part of it?” I asked him and he said yes. This was brilliant, but like in someone suffering from psychosis it lasted about 5 minutes before I forgot. It was about this point I realised Jack had had it as well, and I felt oddly relieved in a way, because I trusted him. I began to feel that maybe we wouldn’t die. Maybe we’d just be trapped in this strange delusional world for life. I felt that that would be slightly more bearable if he were there with me.
When the ambulance arrived I thought they might be a part of my delusions. When they put clips on my fingers to measure my heart rate I tried to pull them off and had to be told not to by my friends. I couldn’t see at all. As 2C-B comes in waves I was oscillating between this state and one like the height of a normal intense 2C-B trip. As it subsided this time I could see Jack and the kid on the other sofa, the same equipment attached to them. When the paramedics announced that we were all tachycardiac, Jack and I panicked. The kid said “No, that’s fine” -- and although I didn’t know what it meant I trusted him. After a while we were led out into the driveway. No one explained where we were going. I tried to ask. Being on loads of 2C-B the only way I could phrase the question was “What’s going on?” The paramedics were patronising and not particularly helpful, saying things like “you’ve had too many drugs”. I knew that, of course, I wanted to know where we were being taken and what to expect from it, and whether we were in danger. They seemed to say that we weren’t, probably, but they had never even heard to 2C-B and didn’t really seem to know what they were doing with us. As I walked out to the ambulance the rain seemed to crackle around me. Everything felt slowly broken in a strange rhythm. I asked my friend from London if we would be ok.
“You will,” he said “but you may be tripping for a long time.” I’d advise not saying that to someone on a really intense unexpected trip! I thought he meant years, perhaps. I thought we were being taken to a mental hospital to wait it out. Shouldn’t I tell someone? Everyone told me “No”.
In the ambulance we couldn’t work out whether we were really there or if it was a part of our visions. Enclosed in a small space just with each other we began to feed off each other and have some remarkable abstract insights. We laughed a lot. The kid kept calling back to try and get information. He kept panicking a bit, and the paramedics told him not to be selfish, and that we needed to pull together (the one good thing they did do). We were interviewed in a very standard way, couldn’t remember basic details of course and laughed out loud when they asked us if we were having hallucinations.
I don’t remember arriving at the hospital. The next thing I remember is being with the other two in a cubicle, the kid and I shouting for water, which they wouldn’t give us. Then Jack was put on a trolley and taken away because his heart rate was a bit quicker than ours. We were terrified for him. We were told it was nothing serious and just for observation. We hoped they were right.
After that the kid and I talked to each other and eventually talked ourselves down. We asked if we could go look for Jack and scooted off round the hospital in search of him. When we found him I was thrilled, but although he looked better, mentally he was still in a state. Being taken off and tested alone like that had got him in a psychedelic panic loop, although before he’d been the best off out of all of us. We sat there for a good 45 minutes while he repeated clichéd 2C-B panic phrases to us (really? seriously? Oh my god! Is it that bad? Fuck!) whatever we said to him. We waited it out. After a while the nurses gave him some downers, which we encouraged him to take after checking what they were. After a bit he seemed more lucid and I asked if we could go.
“I’m kinda liking this hospital vibe.” He said.
“Well we’re not! We want a beer, we’ve wanted out of here for about an hour!” I said.
“Oh right, ok. Let’s blow this joint!”
Just like that we left, and phoned our friends, without checking ourselves out.
It did affect us. It certainly affected me. The next day, as I wandered the park, bouts of fairly intense 2C-B like visuals would still come on me -- neon blotches on people’s faces, shininess, clarity all the ugly and beautiful details of life. I felt high like it a fair bit too. This carried on at this intensity for about 2 weeks and then began to subside. I still get it occasionally at a much lower level. It affected our perceptions in deeper ways too, made us look at nature again, differently. Initially we all went on a bender after it, to deal with it I think. This bender lasted several months. We had all been taking drugs regularly anyway, but it intensified. We bonded very tightly and had some amazing experiences together. After some time Jack and I both realised that actually, in contrast to our initial response, the experience (and subsequent complex social fallout) made us want to cut back on our drug use. We both have, although we still both take drugs from time to time.
We went through an intense journey of discovery, connected to the intensity of our experience and our fears of dying. I think if we hadn’t been so convinced of that, and hadn’t gone to hospital, we would still have had a lot to deal with, but parts of it would’ve been easier. It felt very important to surround ourselves with understanding, good visuals, sounds, nature, calm, in our recovery -- and the environment we put ourselves in during our experience couldn’t have been more different than that. Jack suffered a severe panic attack, some time after, which he never had before. I think that kind of anxiety can sometimes affect him since in small ways in life. It’s made me feel more inclined to that kind of panic sometimes too. The way I think is different in some ways, I guess the cumulative loss of short term memory most people probably get when they take drugs often was made quite a bit worse, and the way I organise my thoughts has kind of changed. That said I think we probably all always had quite complex experiences of the world, and really, it’s just an extra part of that. It is fine.
And that’s why I’ve written this really. I’d like anyone looking for stuff about it who has had a similar experience to know that. The problems Jack and I have now, 2 years on, don’t even look back to that experience in any meaningful way, they’re the normal problems of trying to be friends who make things happen who live far apart.
I might regret saying this if I ever did hear anything bad had happened as a result somehow -- but where this kind of 2C-B overdose is concerned -- I really think -- try and find a safe, calm, beautiful place with the people it’s happened with, make sure you are watched by friends you trust, and wait it out. Explore your mental strangeness. It’s not an experience even many who might even consider themselves experimenters with psychedelics would experience by choice -- if it happens to you don’t be worried by being scared and get the most out of it you can. It will change your life, but so did the first time you took e. Don’t panic!
Oh, and if you don’t want it to happen label your wraps!!
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