Phorine is a medicinal drug, deployed in the upper echelons of the Skolian Empire to treat telepaths for certain disorders they are prone to. In particular, it helps to smooth the process of telepathic powers developing, reducing and relieving the pain that this can cause, and helping to stablise the telepath’s mind as they learn to deal with the onslaught of information their powers result in. It is a neurorelaxant that affects the body’s production of psiamine, an amino acid produced only by those carrying the genes for telepathy. In excessive doses, in can result in a euphoric high, followed by a painful crash, and addiction to Phorine is easily developed. It has little or no effect on those who do not carry the genes.
During the series of events in the Undercity of Cries, the imperial capital, that led to the foundation of the Dust Knights and a long-delayed rapproachement between the citizens of the under- and over- cities, it was discovered that a criminal known as Scorch had acquired a quantity of Phorine, which she sold in the Undercity as a street drug under the name Node-Bliss. Claiming it to be the latest designer drug, Scorch was prepared to tolerate the damage the lack of effect the drug had on many did to her reputation, because selling the drug was a means, not and end: her plan was to identify and addict telepaths, whom she would then sell to the military enemies of the Skolian Empire. This plan was thwarted by Major Bhaajan (ret.) and her allies.