Over the course of the past several years, the emergence of several new, prevalent strains of synthetic drugs have repeatedly made headlines in the media based on their absurd side effects and extremely lethal chemical combinations. From bath salts to spice and everything in between, synthetic drugs are now more popular than they ever have been – abused by men and women of all ages and socio-economic backgrounds.
They especially target a younger, more susceptible demographic, as they’re easier to score for adolescents and young adults, who are purchasing synthetic drugs sometimes from gas stations and smoke shops without proper screening. These shops are temporarily allowed to sell the synthetic designer “drugs” because their chemical compounds have not yet been made illegal. It is a constant cat and mouse game between the government and synthetic drug manufacturers.
The accessibility and affordability of synthetic drugs is just part of their allure. People like military personnel, those on parole and dedicated employees are engaging in synthetic drug abuse because drug screen tests aren’t yet able to detect most of the synthetic drugs that are on the market yet. Though tests are evolving to begin screening for the more known compounds found in these synthetic drugs, still, a great many go unnoticed.
The other issue is the way in which they are wrongfully “marketed” to our community, promising to be “safe” alternatives to their designer muse. Unfortunately, there is also a propensity for recovering addicts to test out these “pseudo” drugs as an alternative to their illicit drug of choice. More and more, individuals across the country are entering treatment for dependencies on synthetic drugs, and the widespread abuse of such dangerous chemical substances is quickly becoming one of the largest drug-related issue that our nation as a whole faces.
What Are Synthetic Drugs?
Synthetic drugs possess properties and effects similar to known narcotics or hallucinogens, but have slightly altered chemical structures. These chemical compounds have been created in a laboratory, often times overseas, where regulations are nonexistent. These unnatural compounds, together, create an effect that is said to be similar to well-known, illicit drugs. While synthetic drugs are said to mimic illicit drugs to a certain degree, this does not mean they act like them. Because these compounds are synthetically manufactured in overseas laboratories, with no regulation or testing, the risks involved in taking these substances could prove to be catastrophic.
In most cases, drugs like these are created in order to evade restrictions, which prevent the sale or ingestion of illegal substances. Because they are chemically different, their compounds are not yet considered “illegal” yet, and therefore, for now, are legally sold over the counter in the United States.
Our government is not sitting idly as the synthetic drug epidemic takes over. They are working tirelessly to pass legislation that inhibits the sale, possession or use of these new synthetic compounds as they discover them, by classifying them as schedule 1 substances.
However, once one synthetic substance becomes illegal, chemists simply alter the chemical compounds slightly to evade any illegal consequences, and continue marketing and selling the product. To date, it is suggested that there have been thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of new chemical compounds created in overseas labs with the goal of creating synthetic drugs. It has been nearly impossible for the government to keep up with banning them all.
The most frequently abused synthetic drugs are “bath salts” (synthetic cocaine) and “spice” or “K2” (synthetic marijuana). These drugs are sold at gas stations and smoke shops under deceptive guises in seemingly child-friendly packaging, making them appealing to adolescents and undetectably dangerous to the unsuspecting shopper. Like other common drugs, synthetic drugs are highly addictive, meaning that those who are heavily involved will continue use regardless of any negative consequences.
Signs and Symptoms of Synthetic Drug Abuse
If you believe that someone you love is battling a potential addiction to synthetic drugs, there are several very distinct symptoms you should look for.
- Suicidal tendencies and potential attempts
- Homicidal tendencies
- Chest pain
- Overheating leading to clothing removal
- Self-destructive and self-harming behaviors
- Heart attack
Like any other highly addictive chemical substance, those who are addicted to synthetic drugs of any kind most likely require some form of substance abuse treatment to successfully quit and maintain sobriety. Contact one of our trained representatives today to find out all of your potential treatment options: 844-766-1458