AIRCR Jumps the Shark

The Association of Independent Research Chemical Retailers (AIRCR) is a collection of largely UK based research chemical vendors who have banded together in a stated attempt at creating a self-regulating organization. The motivation apparently was a result of the wide-scale scams and misrepresentation of product that occurred as the easy money of mephedrone sales started to dry up due to government regulation.

A noble goal indeed, as even before this the research chemical scene as a whole was not exactly a shining example of professionalism and restraint. Self-regulating organizations have a strong track record in many fields including finance, law, medicine, and engineering, and can demonstrate the ability of the market to regulate itself without requiring explicit government oversight. They can also quickly shift from self-regulating to self-serving organizations as their structures may encourage monopolistic behavior and cronyism.

AIRCR initially appeared to sit almost precisely between these two extremes. There was no question that after the March 2010 ban of mephedrone in the UK many research chemical vendors scrambled to provide any substitute product at all to the seething masses who had gotten used to the cheap and staggeringly effective drug. Hyperpotent long-lasting toxic stimulants, existing (and now illegal) mephedrone stocks rebranded and sold with nonsense chemical formulas, and simply fake product had created mass disillusionment within many retail customers, and retailers began to panic as they saw sales volumes plummet.

The retail strategy of AIRCR seems to be best outlined by the approach of a group of several UK based websites who are now AIRCR members. Their first mainstream exclusive compound 6-APB (“Benzo Fury”) was based off the structure of the classic MDA. Correctly identifying that the major issues leading to prohibition of mephedrone were indiscriminate doses and widely available cheap product, 6-APB was produced in limited runs and pressed into “pellets” (not pills, which would imply human consumption and not “research” of course). Presumably the hope was that with a more expensive product divided up into an appropriate dose overconsumption would be less of an issue. By having a monopoly on production and controlling supply, the compound could be rationed via economic pressures to those most likely to use it correctly – and more importantly, to those least likely to create unwanted media attention. While less profitable month to month than the wide-scale sales of mephedrone, it would hopefully provide a more consistent cash flow, few competitive pressures, and a longer production run leading to a better structured business model.

For new recreational entheogens with limited reinforcing characteristics this business model, while far from perfect, is a rational approach to the current regulatory environment. Retail levels sales to end users are largely tolerated if media attention and underage use is limited, a sort of “don’t ask, don’t tell” of the drug world. But with their latest product, AIRCR has succumbed completely to the temptations of monopoly and have fixed a noose about their own neck.

The compound in question is literally trademarked by AIRCR as methiopropamine, presumably to distract from the more conventional nomenclature of methamthetamine. The similarity to the much-demonized methamphetamine is no coincidence, as it can be thought of as methamphetamine where the phenyl group is replaced by a sulfur-containing thiophene group. Typically the replacement of a phenyl with a thiophene in this class of compounds results in increased inhibition of VMAT, which can be correlated with increased reinforcement and addictive effects. Preliminary tests appear to indicate similar qualitative effects to methamphetamine, a shorter duration, slightly lower potency, and more peripheral effects including vasoconstriction and sweating.

It seems almost a foregone conclusion to say that sales of a research chemical with this level of behavioural reinforcement and close structural similarity to one of the most publicly demonized drugs of our time will not end well. Supply controls will likely be insufficient to limit media attention, and these very supply controls are likely to be quickly circumvented as synthesis and precursors will be vigorously investigated by other labs wanting to get in on a fast buck. A shame that the first public attempt at self-regulation in the research chemical industry could fall to temptation so quickly.

Farewell AIRCR, we hardly knew ye.

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    • Steven
    • January 9th, 2011

    Uppon discovering AIRCR it was immediately obvious to me they are a cartel, I found this article googling to find if anyone agreed with me.

    -Price of “methiopropamine” fixed at £25 a gram.
    -All members appear to source their products from the same supplier.
    -Marketing looks fixed also.

    That said, a cartel that controls the market selling only unadulterated pure drugs*, is surely a better than many vendors selling fakes? or the completely unregulated illegal drugs trade?

    • Mr Issues
    • January 12th, 2011

    Steven :
    That said, a cartel that controls the market selling only unadulterated pure drugs*, is surely a better than many vendors selling fakes? or the completely unregulated illegal drugs trade?

    You’d think so, but when the members of that cartel all seem to be happy to screw one another over to try and make an extra buck, It’s usually the customer who suffers.

  1. An extremely good read based on theory, the comments are miles out and are not backed by anything factual whatsoever. We welcome you to monitor our performance, hello countyourculture we might just get on if you open you scrapped your shallow view and actually realised how much effort we have made to create a safer community without doubt of being mis-sold to and the huge amount of investment we have put up to enchance the community.

    • Hi Terry,

      Call me Bill. I’d love to have a brief interview with you so you can highlight statements you may disagree with or would like to clarify, and so we can expand on some other areas in more detail.

    • steven stein
    • May 7th, 2011

    Hello Bill,

    I am interested in Methiopropamin. I have experiences with other research chemicals including 5-meo-dmt, and other analogues of drugs used for consciousness expanding purposes. In the early 1980s I lived in a small mountainous area in Oaxaca, Mexico for about a month, but it seemed like an eternity. I would love to chat with you about anything you might like to chat about. I have a good deal of research experience behind me. In the past, I was very involved with Psychodrama and Gestalt therapy.

    Thanks for the opportunity to share a bit of my self,

    Steven Stein

    • Kamster
    • May 10th, 2011

    Hi Bill,
    Just wondering if you ever heard back from Terry? Any luck with an interview? I’d be very interested in reading it.
    Best regards

    • naon
    • June 12th, 2011

    Bill, you really think they’re gonna talk to a journo? Or at least someone that sounds like one?

    • I suppose I’ll have to reassure them with my lack of qualifications.

        • Tom
        • July 31st, 2011

        Hello Bill.

        Have you got an email address I can take? Been searching for it on this website for ages to no avail.


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