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The Dangers of Synthetic Drugs

Synthetic drugs, also known as “designer” or “club” drugs, can be extremely dangerous.  Synthetic drugs are drugs that have been chemically created, enhanced, and/or copied to perform a specific type of hallucinogenic effect. These potent narcotics have an altered chemical structure to enhance these hallucinogenic effects while copying the use of a different kind of drug. 

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) warns against synthetic drugs, citing that the consumption of them is extremely dangerous. Yet many children, teens, and adults continue to experiment with them despite the dangers.

Common Types of Synthetic Drugs

There are several types of synthetic drugs, including synthetic cannabinoids (synthetic marijuana), synthetic cathinones (similar to meth, cocaine, or MDMA), synthetic phenethylamines (similar to acid or PCP), and synthetic opioids (fentanyl). These names and categories are derived from their chemical structure and resulting effects on the human brain.

Synthetic Cannabinoids 

Other names for synthetic cannabinoids include synthetic marijuana, synthetic weed, K2, Spice, and many others depending on the packaging they are sold in. The synthetic cannabinoid is sprayed onto a dried plant to be smoked, or liquidized to be used by vaporizer or e-cigarette. Synthetic marijuana can be marketed as safe for humans because it is natural, when in fact it is not. The chemical sprayed on plants or liquidized is made in factories with unknown amounts of the drug inside them. The effects of synthetic marijuana can include paranoia, extreme hallucinations, confusion, agitation, anxiety, and vomiting. These effects can last for years, possibly for the user’s life. 

Synthetic Cathinones 

Synthetic cathinones are also known as synthetic stimulants, molly, flakka, MDMA, or most commonly as bath salts. Synthetic cathinones tend to mimic uppers or cocaine. They can be inhaled, swallowed, or injected into the bloodstream. Again, due to their illegal nature, the factories that produce synthetic cathinones are unregulated, resulting in a lack of knowledge about what is in the drug and how it will affect the user. As cathinones imitate the effects and usage of stimulants, people will most likely find them in pill form. The effects of synthetic cathinones can include strong hallucinations, suicidal thoughts, vomiting, chest pains, seizures, and even death.

Synthetic Phenethylamines 

Synthetic phenethylamines are also known as synthetic LSD, N-Bombs, smiles, or MDMA (MDMA can also be considered a synthetic cathinone due to its ability to stimulate). Synthetic phenethylamines work as a common hallucinogen, a stimulant, and/or an entactogen. Synthetic phenethylamines often have varying effects, depending on the usage and the amount taken. They can be taken as a liquid, powder, or laced on edible items. Extremely small amounts of phenethylamines can be deadly or may cause seizures, cardiac arrest, or respiratory arrest.

Synthetic Opioids 

Fentanyl gets its own category here. The increasing popularity among young people for this extremely dangerous synthetic opioid is a major concern. Fentanyl has become one of the most common causes of accidental overdoses in the United States. Fentanyl is often a prescription drug that is made and used illegally, meaning that one pill can be over 100 times more potent than the prescription drug it’s mimicking. Fentanyl’s effects on the user can include vomiting, sedation, unconsciousness, or far too often, death. Small amounts of fentanyl go a long way, as it takes only a trace amount to overdose on fentanyl. 

Creation and Distribution of Synthetic Drugs

Because they are not legal, we often do not know where synthetic drugs/designer drugs are coming from. Because they mimic the effects and usage of other drugs, designer drug chemists are using whatever they can to create the chemical compound that will give the drug the desired effect on the brain — but the potential consequences (such as an overdose) are immeasurable in the creation process. 

The point of synthetic drugs is to create as powerful of an effect as possible. Those with a high tolerance to other drugs, numb to getting a “high,” might feel those strong effects again with the synthetic drugs. Thus, those with a long history of drug abuse might be at a higher risk of taking synthetics.

Synthetic Drugs in Teens

Teens seem to be the most easily susceptible to synthetic drug use. Due to the nature of synthetic drugs, they are often associated with parties or clubbing, making resistance difficult for teens who are susceptible to peer pressure. Talking with your teen about synthetic drugs and their potentially deadly effects can help teens make better decisions when faced with synthetic drug use. The DEA’s Just Think Twice program provides a helpful video for teens that shares important facts about synthetic drugs.

If you or your loved one are struggling with synthetic drug abuse, you are not alone. Synthetic drugs are marketed as fun and safe party drugs, when in reality they are extremely dangerous. Due to the high volume of synthetic drugs sold in bright, appealing packaging, it can be difficult for teens or adults to avoid the temptation. At RECO Intensive, we understand that synthetic drugs are highly addictive, and we can help you or your loved one. In fact, we specialize in helping those who suffer with synthetic weed and fentanyl addictions. We offer RECOvery for anyone suffering from synthetic drug abuse or extreme aftereffects. Our experienced staff and alumni will be there every step of the way to offer personalized programs for you or your loved one. At RECO Intensive, we know that addiction can be scary, but we want to help you get back to a brighter future. Call (561) 464-6533 today.

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