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November 17, 1978

Pentazocine reclassified in Illinois

JAMA. 1978;240(21):2234-2239. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03290210016004

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In the brief space of three months, a mild-to-potent analgesic has been made a schedule 2 (high potential for abuse) drug and given designated product status in the State of Illinois.

Why the turnabout? Certainly the fault does not lie with Winthrop Laboratories, maker of pentazocine (Talwin) hydrochloride. Instead, the whole affair shows what can happen when a perfectly legitimate drug falls under the purview of clever "street" addicts.

No one knows who thought of it first but, particularly in Chicago, crushed pentazocine tablets are being mixed with crushed tablets of tripelennamine (Pyribenzamine), an antihistamine. The mixture is dissolved in water and the solution injected intravenously.

The combination, known on the street as "Ts and Blues," gives a cheap, heroin-like rush. It is so popular that, according to Peter Bensinger, administrator for the US Drug Enforcement Administration, US Department of Justice, 3 to 6 million doses of pentazocine have been