- The Dangers of Synthetic Drugs
- Synthetic Stimulants
- Synthetic Cannabinoids
- The Changes and Challenges of Designer Drugs
- Synthetic stimulants
- Synthetic opioids
- Why synthetics are popular
- Testing for synthetics
- Designer Drug Addiction, Withdrawal Symptoms and Treatment
- Types of Designer Drugs
- Drug Classification
- Dangers of Designer Drugs
- Effects and Symptoms
- History of Designer Drugs
- Treatment for Designer Drug Addiction
- Dangerous Synthetic Drugs
- Bath Salts
- What is NIDA doing?
- A Serious Public Health Risk
- Understanding Synthetic Drugs: Types, Dangers, and Treatment
- Why Do So Many People Turn to Synthetic Drugs?
- Who Are the Most Common Abusers of Synthetic Drugs?
- The Types of Synthetic Drugs Currently Available
- What are the Side Effects of Synthetic Drug Use?
- What Treatment is Available for Synthetic Drug Use?
The Dangers of Synthetic Drugs
Synthetic drugs are increasing in popularity in the United States. Because many people make the mistake of assuming they are safe or naturally grown, they overlook the real facts of these designer drugs. Many new versions of these drugs are manufactured in China and brought into the United States each year, and they often contain substances that have never been tested on people.
People also make the argument that synthetic drugs are safe because they are legal. In reality, states are taking action to ban certain substances found in the drugs. However, once these laws are passed, the drug designers begin to use different and equally dangerous chemicals, making it difficult for legislation to keep up.
Many of these chemicals are poisonous to your mind and your body, with emergency room visits increasing across the country due to adverse and unpredictable effects. Unfortunately, many people, especially teenagers, remain undeterred in their use. This is because the drugs are often cheap can be found in many stores and on the internet.
There are many kinds of synthetic drugs, but two of the most popular types include Synthetic Stimulants and Synthetic Cannabinoids.
People often hear about “bath salts” being abused in the news, but there are other types of designer stimulants. You might not recognize a synthetic stimulant when you see it.
Manufacturers often deceptively use “not for human consumption” labels on bath salts, cleaners, and plant food to hide the fact that they were manufactured for dangerous and recreational drug use.
People who use synthetic stimulants often inhale or smoke the drugs, but sometimes they simply ingest them.
The dangerous and side effects of synthetic stimulants are numerous and can include:
- Violent behavior
- Stomach problems
For long-term users, “bath salt” use can lead to depression, brain damage, kidney and liver failure, and possibly death.
The most commonly used synthetic cannabinoid is often referred to as “synthetic marijuana.
” This is a misleading label, because the drugs are much more potent than marijuana and cause a very different and unpredictable response. To create synthetic marijuana, drug creators mix toxic chemicals with plant matter.
To achieve a high, people smoke or ingest the drug, which is commonly referred to as Spice, K2, Black Mamba, or Bliss, among other names.
Synthetic marijuana often comes in small, shiny packets labeled as incense or potpourri, and they are commonly found in novelty stores, gas stations, or online.
Synthetic marijuana is marketed to attract young people, and five percent of high school seniors admit to having used synthetic cannabinoids at least once.
So if you have a teenager, it’s important to talk to them about how it’s availability in stores doesn’t make the drug safe.
The symptoms of synthetic cannabinoid use may vary, as an individual can have a different reaction every time they inhale or ingest the drug. Reactions can include:
- Violent reactions
- Racing heartbeat
- Nausea and vomiting
- Violent behavior
- Suicidal ideation
Long-term side effects of use may include memory loss and paralysis. Users of synthetic marijuana may also experience withdrawal from the drug if they try to quit. Many people who use these drugs are often described as “zombie-” in their appearance, moving slowly and struggling to piece together their thoughts.
If you know someone who is using synthetic stimulants or cannabinoids, never hesitate to talk to them. Explain to them that being able to buy a drug in a store doesn’t make it safe.
Substances such as rat poison have been found before in these designer drugs. Even if they’ve used the drugs before, they could die or engage in violent behavior on their next try.
A short-term high is never worth damaging your mind and body in the long-term.
Because mental health professionals have become more aware of synthetic drugs in the past few years, help is available to users. Encourage your friend or family member to take the next step and ask for help from a doctor or counselor. They may be addicted to the drug and require substance use treatment or medical treatment due to side-effects.
With the right support and information, no one needs a quick and dangerous high to escape life’s challenges. Educate your friends and family about the dangers of synthetic drugs.
The Changes and Challenges of Designer Drugs
Designer drugs have exploded onto the scene in the past decade. These psychoactive substances are often manufactured overseas and sold in the U.S. over the internet. Others are sold in gas stations, smoke shops, or convenience stores.
Marketed as natural, consumers think they are less dangerous. Side effects differ, but when taken in high doses, synthetics can cause aggressive and violent behavior.
In 2016, synthetic opioids (primarily illegal fentanyl) passed prescription opioids as the most common drugs involved in overdose deaths in the United States.
Synthetic stimulants, aka bath salts, are substitutes for illicit stimulants methamphetamine and cocaine.
Bath salts are sold in small plastic or foil packages, and can be swallowed, snorted, smoked, or injected.
Street names include Flakka, Bliss, Cloud Nine, White Lightning and Vanilla Sky, among others. The use of bath salts contributed to nearly 23,000 emergency room visits in 2011.
Users of synthetic stimulants may experience symptoms of:
- Increased alertness
- Increased heart rate
Synthetic versions of fentanyl and ketamine are widely available. They’re usually injected, but ketamine can also be smoked or sniffed. These drugs have unpredictable and more severe side effects than the opioids they’re derived from. Ketamine's street name is Vitamin K.
Kratom comes from a tropical tree native to Southeast Asia. sold as a green powder in packets labeled «not for human consumption.» People take kratom as a pill, capsule, gum or extract. Kratom can cause effects similar to both opioids and stimulants.
Desomorphine, aka Krokodil, is a derivative of the opioid pain medication codeine. It’s similar to heroin in both use and effects.
It is highly addictive and can be made at home by mixing codeine with paint thinner, gasoline, hydrochloric acid, and iodine.
Krokodil is sometimes called the zombie drug because it has become notorious for producing severe tissue damage including injury to the veins (phlebitis) and gangrene.
Why synthetics are popular
Misleading advertising may cause high-risk users to swap synthetic substances for the real thing. As the criminal justice system continues to reevaluate their response to substance use disorders, it's important for court, probation, and criminal justice professionals to understand that designer drugs are complex and ever-changing.
- Stay up-to-date with the latest trends in your market
- Use treatment court contracts or probation agreements to ban all forms of synthetic substances
- Make sure your drug testing program offers up-to-date tests for the latest synthetics
- Maintain best practices for drug testing protocol
- Give clients the opportunity to self-report
- Identify participants in court who are having positive results and showing improvement
Testing for synthetics
Synthetics are difficult for laboratories to detect because of the large number of differing substances and the constantly changing structures of these drugs. Urine drug testing is the most effective way to detect synthetics.
The method for analyzing is liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). LC-MS/MS is more costly than screening methods but allows you to have the broadest synthetic panel.
To ensure testing for synthetics doesn’t become cost-prohibitive:
- Consider screening a subset of participants to successfully detect the use of designer drugs
- Randomly incorporate popular synthetics in your drug testing panel
- Confirm that your lab tests for a broad spectrum of compounds
If you are unsure of how to identify synthetic opioids or how to determine if someone you know is using? with averhealth's lab director Michele Glinn, PhD. You'll also learn how dealers are lacing drugs with Fentanyl and how we combat it.
Designer Drug Addiction, Withdrawal Symptoms and Treatment
Designer Drugs are chemical formulations that are deliberately synthesized to mimic the effects of illicit drugs while avoiding anti-drug laws. However, their ingredients are not standardized and can vary with each production which makes their physical and psychoactive effects unpredictable. Designer drugs can be smoked, snorted and injected just illicit drugs.
Most designer drugs are made in clandestine or homemade labs. They are typically created by blending properties from such as marijuana, cocaine, morphine and amphetamines with over the counter chemicals and materials. They are especially dangerous because none of these combinations and their effects on humans have been tested or researched.
Types of Designer Drugs
MDMA (Ecstasy) Ketamine, LSD and Methamphetamine are well known designer drugs which have been around for a long time. As drug laws expand the list of illicit drugs, new designer drugs come on the market regularly that skirt the law. Examples of street names for designer drugs to name a few include:
- Cloud Nine
- Bath Salts
- Red Dove
- Ivory Wave
- Vanilla Sky
- Hurricane Charlie
- Fake Pot
Various herbs and dried plant matter are sometimes sprayed with synthetic cannabinoids that users smoke to get a high.
Drugs such as bath Salts which are packaged as plant food and Spice, the marijuana copycat packaged as incense are typically labeled not for human consumption.
The names and designations protect them from the scrutiny of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). These products are readily available from Internet sites, gas stations, liquor stores, convenience stores and head and smoke shops.
Since these drug fall under the radar of the Federal Drug Administration and the DEA because they are composed of random materials and chemicals, they are not subject the government categorization schedules.
However the composites of these drugs comprise such a mixed bag that their effects could be that of a stimulant, a depressant or a hallucinogen.
This is usually determined by the base chemical that is used to produce the drug.
Dangers of Designer Drugs
The primary danger of using designer drugs is the fact that the ingredients are not standardized, tested or regulated. Since these drugs are specifically made to develop addictions in order to propel repeat business, drug dealers find innovative ways to sell them without legal restrictions or penalization. As such, the potency and materials used is determined by these manufacturers.
These mystery formulations are particularly dangerous when users have an adverse or life threatening reaction to a designer drug because medical personnel can never be sure of the exact chemical reactions that they are treating. Emergency room data show that designer drug reactions are very often un known illicit drugs. Appropriate treatment is often delayed because the patient cannot be specific about the drug or chemicals that they used.
Effects and Symptoms
The effects of Designer drugs vary from person to person and even package to package. These effects include:
- Confusion, paranoia and hallucinations.
- Increased energy or feelings of excitement.
- Panic Attacks
- Prolonged periods of wakefulness,
- Changes in blood pressure,
- Seizures, slurred speech and blackouts.
- Increased heart rate
- Damage to the circulatory system.
- Depressant effects in some designer drugs can cause drowsiness
- Numbness or loss of ability to feel pain.
- Disruption in the breathing cycle
- Coma and death
- Nausea and vomiting
- High body temperature
- Sweating and Dehydration
History of Designer Drugs
As early as 1925 designer drugs were being sold in the United States. In the last decade or two they acquired the name Designer Drugs or club drugs.
These drugs were developed to replace the drugs that were being banned because of their addictive properties.
MDMA (Ecstasy) is the one of the first legal designer drugs that that physicians prescribed for use in treating patients with psychosis. However, due to the drug’s potential for addition, its use was banned in 1985.
As more and more drugs receive an illegal designation, unscrupulous drug manufacturers become more creative in finding ways to make and distribute a variety of designer drugs that stay just outside legal boundaries. Today there is a designer drug substitute for most illicit drug.
The term club drugs and designer drugs were coined to describe how the drugs gained their popularity.
Rave parties, all night parties, clubs and music became popular events where these drugs were used to heighten the experience by energizing people to dance all night and unleash inhibitions.
Treatment for Designer Drug Addiction
The complexities of treating designer drug addiction is primarily due to the fact that every time the individual use a designer drug, the compilation of the chemicals and materials used to make the drug, can be different; even if it has the same name and packaging. Patients who become addicted to designers drugs must therefore be carefully evaluated before treatment can commence.
Detoxification is usually the first step in the treatment process for people addicted to these chemical substances. When necessary, antipsychotic medication may also be administered. Once the patient completes the detoxification process and is stable, they are then able to participate in a comprehensive rehabilitation process that includes relapse prevention training.
For more information about treatment for designer drug addiction call us today at 877-855-3470.
Dangerous Synthetic Drugs
Madame Chairwoman and Members of the Caucus:
Thank you for inviting the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to participate in this important hearing and offer a scientific perspective on the problem of designer drugs of abuse in this country.
The term “designer drug” in the context of drug abuse refers to substances chemically similar to and/or that mimic the drug- effects of controlled substances. The term is often used synonymously with “club drugs,” “party drugs,” and “synthetic drugs.” Designer drugs affect the central nervous system (CNS) and can display stimulant, depressant and/or hallucinogenic properties.
As recent reports indicate, a large number of new unregulated substances are being abused for their psychoactive properties, often resulting in violent and unpredictable behavior.
This growing phenomenon is particularly challenging, first because of the speed with which rogue chemists can modify existing drugs and market them and, second because of the ease with which the Internet allows for the sharing of information about and purchase of products such as “Spice” and “bath salts.”
In recent years, a growing number of dangerous products have appeared in the U.S. marketplace.
One such class of products, referred to as “herbal incenses” with names K2 and Spice, consists of plant materials laced with synthetic cannabinoids which, when smoked, mimic the effects of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinols (THC), the principal psychoactive constituent in marijuana.
Spice products have become increasingly popular, especially among teens and young adults: most people (60 percent) admitted to an Emergency Department (ED) for their reported Spice use are between 12 and 20 years of age, with those aged 18-20 outnumbering those aged 12-17 by a factor of two (40 percent and 20 percent respectively).
Easy access, non-detectability by standard drug tests, and the misperception that Spice products are “natural” and therefore harmless, have all ly contributed to their popularity. The results of the Monitoring the Future Survey underscore the magnitude of this trend in this country: 11.
3 percent of high school seniors reported past year use of Spice in 2012, a figure that is second only to marijuana itself (36.4 percent) among illicit drugs abused. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, calls related to exposure to synthetic cannabinoids totaled 16,923 between January 1, 2010, and July 30, 2013. Most exposures (58 percent) occurred in the Midwest and Southeast regions.
Very little is known about both the short- and long-term health effects of consuming Spice products, but we have reason to think that their potential health risks may be even more serious than those associated with marijuana use.
The fact is that these synthetic cannabinoids have not been tested in humans—so we don’t know how long they stay in the body, how they are metabolized or broken down, at what doses their psychological or physiological effects occur, and how toxic they are.
Further, the cannabinoids found in these products bind much more strongly to the cannabinoid receptors in the brain than THC itself, which could lead to more powerful and unpredictable effects, including severe episodes of acute psychotic effects extreme anxiety, paranoia, and hallucinations.
Indeed, Poison Control Centers have reported a wide range of adverse effects related to Spice abuse.
Acute toxic symptoms associated with their use are also reported after intake of high doses of marijuana, but agitation, seizures, high blood pressure, vomiting and low potassium―which could trigger irregular heartbeats―seem to be specific to synthetic cannabinoids, thus not typically seen in marijuana abusers. Spice can reduce blood supply to the heart and in a few cases it has been associated with heart attacks. And just marijuana, regular users may experience addiction and withdrawal.
There is also growing evidence demonstrating the abuse of another class of substances, generically referred to as “bath salts” or “plant foods.
” Some of the active ingredients most commonly encountered in seized samples of these products are synthetic cathinone derivatives methylone, mephedrone, MDPV, and butylone, which, when ingested, snorted, smoked, inhaled, or injected, produce stimulant and other psychoactive effects.
These synthetic stimulants are derived from a variety of compounds, and purported to be alternatives to the controlled substances cocaine, amphetamine, and Ecstasy (MDMA).
«Bath salts» have been linked to an alarming number of ED visits across the country. Doctors and clinicians have indicated that ingesting or snorting «bath salts» containing synthetic stimulants can cause chest pains, increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, agitation, hallucinations, extreme paranoia, and delusions.
In addition, users of “bath salts” report intense cravings and their frequent consumption can induce tolerance, dependence, and strong withdrawal symptoms when not taking the drug. According to Poison Control Centers’ data, these products seem to be most popular with people who are between 20 and 29 years old.
However, poison centers have seen bath-salts exposures in a wide range of ages, from younger than 6 to older than 59. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, bath salts exposure calls totaled 9,702 between January 1, 2010, and July 30, 2013.
And, again, most exposures (64 percent) occurred in the Midwest and Southeast regions.
The synthetic stimulants present in bath salts are powerful drugs.
For example MDPV, one of the most common and best characterized cathinones in “bath salts,” is similar to cocaine in that it can enhance the activity of the brain chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine, albeit with significantly greater potency and selectivity. This robust stimulation of dopamine transmission is consistent with MDPV’s serious potential for abuse and may account for the adverse effects observed in humans taking high doses of “bath salts” preparations.
It is important to point out that, un typical stimulants, many synthetic stimulants can disrupt not only the dopamine (and norepinephrine), but the serotonin system as well, albeit to a lesser degree, thus affecting the brain circuits that modulate both motivation and mood/perception.
The resulting combined effect is ly to increase the appeal (and the risk) of these substances for users seeking not only the euphoria that comes from boosting dopamine signals but also the distorted perceptions that can result from sudden changes in serotonin transmission.
Thus, “bath salts” have the potential to combine the addictive properties of stimulants cocaine with the mood and perception altering properties of hallucinogens LSD in one, readily accessible drug.
What is NIDA doing?
NIDA supports a long-standing and multifaceted portfolio of research designed to study the direct effects of common street drugs and their synthetic derivatives. This program is the foundation of our current efforts to better understand the nature and impact of the latest synthetic drug phenomenon.
NIDA’s Intramural Research Program collects, analyzes and disseminates current information about the pharmacology and toxicology of emerging synthetic drugs of abuse. They and other NIDA-supported researchers have already determined the molecular mechanism of action of several “bath salt” cathinones.
NIDA has also developed reliable tests to detect and measure designer cathinones and cannabinoids. Other efforts include relevant funding opportunity announcements to spur researchers, both foreign and domestic, to explore the many unknowns associated with the broad and easy access to synthetic drugs.
Last month, NIDA organized a workshop entitled Emerging Trends in the Abuse of Designer Drugs and Their Catastrophic Health Effects, designed to provide an update on the chemistry, toxicology, addiction potential and treatment of synthetic drugs, as well as to discuss the barriers to conducting such research and potential means for overcoming them.
In addition, NIDA has an interagency agreement with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to generate relevant data on emerging drugs of abuse (including synthetic cannabinoids and cathinone derivatives) and to inform the scheduling of drugs under domestic laws such as the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) as well as international treaties (Single Convention and Psychotropic Convention). Since October 2010, 30 compounds (15 synthetic cannabinoids; 15 synthetic cathinones) have been or are in the process of being evaluated.
A Serious Public Health Risk
Obviously, manufacturers and retailers of these products, which are clearly and disingenuously labeled as “not for human consumption,” do not disclose the synthetic drug contents.
And for a good reason: neither the products nor their active ingredients have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for human consumption, or use in legitimate medical treatment; in fact many of these substances were initially developed as research tools and later co-opted by unscrupulous individuals.
Therefore, anyone purchasing such a product(s) at a gas station, head shop or over the Internet has no way of knowing what he or she is actually putting in their body. In addition to potentially harming themselves, synthetic drug abusers are also a risk to others.
Some become violent when under the influence, and abusers who operate motor vehicles after using synthetic drugs ly present similar dangers as those under the influence of other abused substances.
Finally, it is critical to recognize that we are facing a new kind of challenge that goes beyond the health and social consequences of specific products such as “bath salts” or “Spice.
” Technological advances, market globalization, and the ubiquitous nature of the Internet is ly to generate a continuing flow of cheap psychoactive synthetic drugs for years to come.
Researchers are only beginning to chip away at the tip of the synthetic drug iceberg, but it is paramount that we continue to support their efforts to better understand its causes, scope, and consequences to inform the smartest and most effective prevention policies.
- Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, SAMHSA, Drug Abuse Warning Network, 2011
- Wood KE. Exposure to bath salts and synthetic tetrahydrocannabinol from 2009 to 2012 in the United States. J Pediatr. 163(1):213-6 (2013)
- Hermanns-Clausen, M. Acute toxicity due to the confirmed consumption of synthetic cannabinoids: clinical and laboratory findings. Addiction. 108(3):534-44 (2013)
- Baumann, M.H. et al. Powerful cocaine- actions of 3,4-Methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), a principal constituent of psychoactive 'bath salts' products. Neuropsychopharmacology. 38(4):552-62 (2013).
Understanding Synthetic Drugs: Types, Dangers, and Treatment
If you live in the Houston area, you may remember the May 2016 news story about the synthetic drug bust. One of the 16 people charged was a finance professor at the University of Houston. A month later, a dozen people at Hermann Park were taken to the hospital. These people were reported as having “altered states of mind,” walking around the park at 2:30 in the afternoon.
Incidents this aren’t unique to the Houston area. Similar cases are popping up around the country, many times involving violent, outrageous behavior. What is causing these events? The answer is: synthetic drugs.
Synthetic drugs, also called “designer” drugs, are created in laboratories.
Some of the chemicals used to make them were originally developed to become new prescription drugs for pharmaceutical companies, but they didn’t end up being used for this purpose.
Rogue chemists have since taken these chemicals, modified them slightly so they’re technically legal, and sold them as “research chemicals.”
The rise of synthetic drugs is an epidemic that’s affecting many lives, especially young people. This is why it’s important to know:
- Different types of synthetic drugs that are out there
- Dangers these drugs pose to our loved ones
- Treatments available for addicts
Read below to learn more about this new drug revolution.
Why Do So Many People Turn to Synthetic Drugs?
One reason synthetics have become popular is they are believed to give you a “safe” high. In addition, they’re easy to get a hold of. You can find them in smoke shops, convenience stores, and online. Designer drugs are also perceived as a better value than other drugs.
Synthetic marijuana, for example, can be 800 times more powerful than its plant-based counterpart. Though synthetic marijuana sells for around $30 per gram, the buyer can get a remarkably strong high from just one dose. Since the drugs are manmade, the potency of the drug is literally in the hands of the manufacturer, and every dose is different.
Designer drugs are so sneaky that drug tests don’t pick up on them. This is a key reason why synthetic drugs are popular among teenagers, and others looking for a way to get high without getting caught. You can’t even tell someone has taken anything by being around them. There isn’t a familiar odor associated with synthetic drugs. Some are actually odorless.
Who Are the Most Common Abusers of Synthetic Drugs?
The most common abusers of synthetic drugs are:
- Young Teens: Young people between ages 12 and 17 are a prime target. Their gullibility and curiosity, combined with easy access to the drugs, are all factors in why many teens try them.
- Recovering Addicts: People recovering from an addiction to drugs heroin, methamphetamine, or cocaine see synthetic versions of these drugs as safe alternatives to the more “dangerous” drugs they’re getting clean from. However, because the potency of a designer drug is so volatile, they could actually be taking something much stronger than anything they used as an addict.
- Convicted Felons: Synthetic drugs are a big problem in prisons. Inmates know their secret won’t show up in drug tests, and easy access only heightens the temptation to use them.
Now that you know who these drugs appeal to most, it’s time to get familiar with common types of synthetic drugs and their effects on the body.
The Types of Synthetic Drugs Currently Available
At this moment, you can bet another type of designer drug is in the works in a lab somewhere in the world. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration can’t keep up with the continual flood of new, even more dangerous, drugs getting smuggled into the country. There are currently hundreds of different kinds of these drugs, all of them extremely dangerous.
Here are the most well-known synthetic drugs available today:
Spice and K2
These are just two of many street names for synthetic marijuana. This drug is sold in small, silver plastic bags and looks dried leaves. It can also be found in liquid form. Synthetic marijuana is advertised as legal and safe, but neither is true. It’s a highly addictive drug.
Molly, or Ecstasy
Molly, also referred to as MDMA, is a synthetic version of Ecstasy. Ecstasy, it’s commonly distributed at music festivals, night clubs, and dance clubs as a colored pill. Users may believe it is only Ecstasy they’re taking, but the pill could actually be laced with some kind of chemical compound to make it even more potent.
Krokodil, a.k.a. desomorphine, is a derivative of the opioid pain medication codeine. It’s similar to heroin in both use and effects. It is highly addictive and can be made at home by mixing codeine with paint thinner, gasoline, hydrochloric acid, and iodine. Krokodil is known to be even more lethal than its cousin, heroin.
Synthetic cocaine is easily accessible and still legal in most countries. It can be found online, where it’s labeled as “research chemicals,” “plant food,” or other misleading names. It’s sold under street names such as Mind Melt, Amplified, or Mint Mania.
Bath Salts are synthetic stimulants. They cause hallucinations similar to the drug LSD. They’re sold in small plastic or foil packages, and look a lot the bath salts they’re named after. They are also sold as capsules, or in small jars as a liquid. Street names include Arctic Blast, Blue Silk, or Monkey Dust, among many others.
Synthetic forms of the drug LSD are referred to as N-bomb or Smiles. Synthetic psychedelics are powerful hallucinogens.
There are many variations of them, but the most potent is “25I.” N-bomb is sold in liquid or powdered form, and can also be injected, inhaled, or even used as a suppository.
A tiny amount of this drug can last for 12 hours or longer.
Synthetic versions of fentanyl and ketamine are widely available. They’re usually injected, but ketamine can also be smoked or sniffed. These drugs have unpredictable and more severe side effects than the opioids they’re derived from. Ketamine is typically called Vitamin K on the street.
What are the Side Effects of Synthetic Drug Use?
The effects of synthetic drugs are deadly, and sometimes even violent. The high comes on fast and strong. It’s important to know the signs someone has taken designer drugs so you can take action immediately if you notice these symptoms in a friend or loved one.
Here are common symptoms of someone who has taken synthetic drugs:
- Extreme anxiety
- Suicidal or homicidal behavior
- Chest pain or heart attack
Delusions Less severe effects include:
- Inability to speak
There are many stories about the harmful effects of synthetic drugs. Many users have died. If you think a loved one might be using designer drugs, don’t hesitate to seek help immediately.
What Treatment is Available for Synthetic Drug Use?
There are many options available to help a loved one overcome an addiction to designer drugs, including:
The type of treatment you seek will depend on the severity of the situation. For example, if your loved one is already addicted, they may need the 24/7 care provided during an inpatient treatment program.
Synthetic drugs are dangerous and widely available. Young people are especially susceptible to the allure of these drugs, promising to give them a “legal” and “safe” high.
As you now know, these drugs are anything but safe. They can cause serious side effects—and even death.
The best way to help your loved ones is to talk to them about the dangers of synthetic drugs, or stage an intervention if you know they’re using them.
If you have any questions on synthetic drugs or on treatment programs to help you or a loved one overcome an addiction, contact Houston Behavioral Healthcare Hospital today by calling (832) 834-7710.
Understanding the Dangers of Synthetic Drugs: http://www.narconon.org/drug-abuse/synthetics/
What You Need to Know: http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/13/health/synthetic-drugs-7-things/
Fact Books and Other Resources: http://www.drugfreeworld.
Experts Warn of Dangerous New Synthetic Drugs: http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/news/20160616/painkiller-that-killed-prince-part-of-dangerous-wave-of-new-synthetic-drugs
Why People Use Synthetic Drugs: http://www.interventionsupport.
Synthetic Drug Fact Sheet: http://publicsafety.syr.edu/display.cfm?content_ID=%23%2BH5!%0A
Information on Synthetics: http://www.narconon.org/drug-abuse/synthetics/classes.html
Dangerous New Legal Drugs: http://www.
Warning Signs and What You Need to Know: http://www.cnn.com/2014/12/01/us/iyw-synthetic-drugs-resources/
Facts about K2, Spice, and Bath Salts: https://www.whitehouse.