Benzo fury: A new trend in the drug misuse scene

J Appl Toxicol. 2019 Aug;39(8):1083-1095. doi: 10.1002/jat.3774. Epub 2019 Feb 5.


Benzofurans, also known by users as benzo fury or benzofury, are synthetic phenethylamines and constitute the third most prominent group of new psychoactive substances (NPS). As the use of these substances has been spread as an alternative to the classic illicit psychostimulants, such as amphetamines, their legal status was reviewed, resulting in an utter prohibition of these NPS in many countries worldwide. Herein, the prevalence of abuse, chemistry, biological effects, metabolism, and the potential harms and risky behaviors associated with the abuse of benzofurans are reviewed. The congeners of this group are mainly consumed recreationally at electronic dance music parties, in polydrug abuse settings. Benzofurans preferentially act by disturbing the functioning of serotonergic circuits, which induces their entactogenic and stimulant effects and is the reason behind the considerable number of recent benzo fury-related deaths. The slight interaction of these drugs with the dopaminergic system justifies the rewarding effects of these drugs. To date, published evidence on the mechanisms of toxicity of benzo fury is very limited but a body of research is now beginning to emerge revealing an alarming public health threat regarding the abuse of these NPS.

Keywords: Benzo fury or Benzofury; Pharmacodynamics; metabolism; new psychoactive substance (NPS); synthetic benzofuran; toxicity; toxicokinetics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Benzofurans / metabolism
  • Benzofurans / toxicity*
  • Drug Misuse / statistics & numerical data
  • Drug Misuse / trends*
  • Health Risk Behaviors / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Illicit Drugs / metabolism
  • Illicit Drugs / toxicity*
  • Psychotropic Drugs / metabolism
  • Psychotropic Drugs / toxicity*
  • Substance-Related Disorders* / epidemiology
  • Substance-Related Disorders* / etiology
  • Substance-Related Disorders* / psychology


  • Benzofurans
  • Illicit Drugs
  • Psychotropic Drugs