What were the “T’s and Blues”?
“T’s and Blues” described the IV use of pentazocine (a mu and kappa opioid receptor agonist; “T” came from the tradename Talwin) and tripelennamine (an antihistamine with a light blue color). Users crushed the two oral medications in order to inject the combination.
Use of the “T’s and Blues” arose in the Midwest in the late 1970s and peaked in the early 1980s. Reformulation of pentazocine with naloxone (Talwin NX) led to the decline in its misuse/abuse.
1. Poklis A. Pentazocine/tripelennamine (T’s and Blues) abuse: A five year survey of St. Louis, Missouri. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 1982; 10:257-267.
2. Poklis A. Decline in abuse of pentazocine/tripelennamine (T’s and Blues) associated with the addition of naloxone to pentazocine tablets. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 1984; 14:135-140. https://doi.org/10.1016/0376-8716(84)90039-5
Submitted by: Michael Mullins, MD