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Why are European Gen Zers taking Nazi-themed party drugs?

As an increasing number of European youngsters lurch towards far-right political views, are the themes of their party drugs following. Or, is this just another obscure trend?

When one mentions ecstasy, what immediately springs to mind: perhaps love, euphoria, or overwhelming feelings of empathy. What isn’t typically conjured is thoughts of genocide, hate, and fascism.

Why then are party drugs across Europe increasingly showing iconography related to Nazis and other extremist groups? Is it merely edgy marketing, or is there something more sinister at play?

The first batch of pills displaying such symbolism – in this case an ‘SS’ – was seized in Switzerland in 2019. A few years later, LSD tabs with swastikas started appearing and at the end of 2023, Dutch police recovered a huge bag of ecstasy stamped with the Imperial Eagle.

While such instances were obviously disturbing, grim, and idiotic (I could go on), the circulation of these particular party drugs was thought to be a ‘limited phenomenon,’ as described by psychotics drug researcher Dr Zoe Dubus.

In 2024, however, her analysis points to a vast growth in their production and it appears we can now discount the notion that one-or-two fascist drug barons were to blame.

‘In early 2024, several tablets with the Nazi eagle and swastika were analysed, indicating an increase in production,’ Dubus recalled in a conversation with VICE. ‘What’s more, the pills are all different in quality and composition: 2C-B, MDMA, and a strange mixture which seems to indicate that one of the batches was made by a very amateur chemist.’

The abundant chemical diversity, all emblazoned with the same pill design, hint at several different manufacturers being involved at once, she argued. The Netherlands, in particular, was highlighted as a major hotspot for MDMA and a possible source.

Nazi regalia isn’t just exclusive to ecstasy and 2C-B, by the way. In 2023, Peruvian narcotics officers secured 58 kilos of cocaine destined for Belgium and each block displayed a bright red swastika flag on the front.

Just in-case the hateful message was too subtle, the word ‘Hitler’ was also pressed into the surface of the powder itself. The haul’s street value was estimated at around $3 million USD.

Looking through social media forums, some believe that genuine far-right groups likely aren’t involved and that people press whatever they want into pills for the fun of it. Besides, the Nazis were known tweakers and cokeheads. Maybe pill makers are paying some form of unsavoury homage just to be quirky.

Those less optimistic assert that there’s no smoke without fire regarding far-right views spreading through Europe’s youth – and there’s frankly a lot of smoke.

‘Ecstasy pills have always been used to spread ideas,’ Dubus noted. ‘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 percent to the worst far-right party in history, is particularly worrying.’

She has a point, too. Throughout Europe, Gen Zers continue to pivot to far-right ideologies in increasing numbers.

In Germany, 16 percent of voters under 25 recently supported the Alternative for Germany (AfD), the National Rally (RN) became the most popular party for under 34s in France, and Poland’s notorious Confederation party saw a massive rise in support (18.5 percent) among those younger than 30.

Similar patterns have also been recorded in Portugal, Spain, Austria, and the Netherlands – incidentally, the EU’s main supplier of ecstasy right now.

While it would be dramatic to suggest that the continent’s notable shift to right-wing ideologies is altogether responsible for pills with swastikas popping up everywhere (no pun intended), there could be parallels between the two issues.

As for the bigots who unapologetically make and move the stuff, we hope the chemical-induced dopamine will eventually chill them out.