Nazi-themed party drugs surge among Europe’s Gen Z

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Published Jul 8, 2024 at 01:44 PM

Reading time: 3 minutes

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Recently, a shocking trend has emerged in the European drug scene: the appearance of Nazi-branded ecstasy pills. The Sunday World first reported this disturbing trend when, in late 2023, police in Kerkrade, the Netherlands, stopped a driver who had disregarded a stop sign.

The routine traffic stop quickly turned alarming when officers discovered the driver not only lacked a valid license and appeared to be high but also had a massive bag of ecstasy pills imprinted with the Nazi Eagle—a symbol associated with Hitler’s party in the 1920s, also known as the Imperial Eagle or Parteiadler.

According to VICE, police also confiscated half a kilo of weed and 100 grams of cocaine.

This incident is not isolated. In fact, similar Nazi-branded pills have been circulating in Europe. Recently, a member of the French Psychedelic Society reported finding grey pills stamped with the Nazi Eagle in western France. These pills, identified in early 2024, have been spotted in Switzerland, Iceland, and the Netherlands. Tests in Zurich have revealed that this design has been used to make both 2C-B and MDMA.

This unsettling trend comes amid a notable rise in far-right political influence across Europe, particularly among younger generations. In Germany, 16 per cent of voters under 25 supported the Alternative for Germany (AfD) in the recent EU elections, a significant increase from previous years. In France, the National Rally (RN) has become the most popular party for those under 34, capturing 32 per cent of the vote. Poland’s far-right Confederation party also saw a substantial rise in support among voters under 30. Similar patterns have been observed in Portugal, Spain, Austria, and the Netherlands. It raises the question: is the surge in far-right politics among European youth influencing the design of party drugs?

Dr. Brian Pace, an Affiliate Scholar at the Center for Psychedelic Drug Research and Education, told VICE: “Attempts to dismiss or excuse it as some kind of troll is to concede that one can troll in this way without some level of adherence to far-right ideologies. The only people who would find that funny are fascists, period.”

The first instance of a drug featuring a Nazi symbol appeared in Switzerland in 2019, followed by a swastika LSD tablet. Until now, this phenomenon has been limited. However, Dr. Dubus notes a significant increase in such incidents this year. “In early 2024, several tablets with the Nazi eagle and swastika were analysed, indicating an increase in production,” she said. “The pills vary in quality and composition: 2C-B, MDMA, and a strange mixture, suggesting one batch was made by an amateur chemist.”

This diversity in chemical composition implies that multiple manufacturers are producing these pills. While the specific groups behind their production remain unknown, Dr. Dubus points out that European MDMA production is primarily centred in the Netherlands.

The influence of far-right ideologies on Europe’s illicit drug market isn’t limited to ecstasy and 2C-B; it has extended to cocaine as well. Last year, Peruvian authorities seized 58 kilos of cocaine destined for Belgium, each block wrapped in Nazi regalia and stamped with the word ‘HITLER’. Police Colonel Luis Bolanos stated that the Nazi-branded cocaine, worth $3 million, was intended for distribution across Belgium, the Netherlands, France, and Spain. It remains unclear whether the Nazi imagery was requested by neo-Nazi drug gangs or intended to appeal to neo-Nazi consumers, but the idea of encountering a neo-Nazi high on cocaine is particularly disturbing.

Nonetheless, four months ago, a Reddit user described as “a casual stoner” reported being shown MDMA pills shaped like Nazi Eagles. He noted that his friend found them “funny as hell in an ironic way.” As more people began posting about similar pills, confusion grew about the reason behind the design. Some Redditors suggested it was done for “marketing” or as a nod to the original Nazis’ heavy meth use during WWII.

However, Dr Brian Pace, an Affiliate Scholar at the Center for Psychedelic Drug Research and Education, believes the design speaks for itself: “Attempts to dismiss or excuse it as some kind of troll is to concede that one can troll in this way without some level of adherence to far-right ideologies. The only people who would find that funny are fascists, period.”

During the interview for VICE, Dr Dubus added: “Some could be trolls. But some could really be linked to Nazi groups that very openly discuss their use of psychedelics on forums,” she explained. “Ecstasy pills have always been used to spread ideas. Counterexamples are the Me Too or Antifa pills. But the increase in the presence of this symbol at several French parties [raves] in recent days, just after the elections giving 30 per cent to the worst far-right party in history, is particularly worrying.”

The rising popularity of far-right ideologies among European youth could be fueling this alarming trend. As Gen Z increasingly leans towards extreme right-wing politics, the appearance of Nazi symbols on party drugs might be one of its more disturbing manifestations.

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