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Synthetic Drugs Addiction
Synthetic drugs are created using man-made chemicals rather than natural ingredients. A number of synthetic drugs are on the market, including Ecstasy, LSD, and methamphetamines. Synthetic marijuana (Spice or K2; also see marijuana addiction), “synthetic stimulants” (Bath Salts), a drug known as “N-bomb” and Ketamine are among the synthetic drugs known as “designer drugs.” The biggest killer to date is Fentanyl “In 2017, more than 28,000 of the nation’s overdose deaths involved synthetic opioids, according to the CDC. In most cases, the synthetic opioid involved was fentanyl or one of its analogs.”
Synthetic Drugs: The Creation of Designer Drugs
A designer drug is a synthetic (chemically made) version of an illegal drug that was slightly altered to avoid having it classified as illegal. It is essentially an experiment by a chemist done to create a new drug that can be sold legally (on the Internet or in stores) allowing dealers to make money without breaking the law. As law enforcement catches up with new chemicals that are created and makes them illegal, manufacturers devise altered versions to steer clear of the law—the cycle continually repeats itself.
Some of these drugs are sold over the Internet or in certain stores (as “herbal smoking blends”) while others are disguised as products labeled “not for human consumption” (such as “herbal incense,” “plant food,” “bath salts” or “jewelry cleaner”) to mask their intended purpose and avoid health and safety rules.
- Due to the constantly growing number of chemicals that are developed, designer drug users have no way of knowing what the drugs they take might contain. Further, as a small modification made to a known drug may result—and often does—into a new drug with greatly different effects, users cannot predict the impact on health from the substances they experiment with. “DEA News: Huge Synthetic Drug Takedown,” Drug Enforcement Administration news release, May 7, 2014.
- Study by Recreational Drug European Network, 2013.
In the United States, some 200 to 300 new designer drugs were identified between 2009 and 2014, most of them manufactured in China. More than 650 new designer drugs have flooded into Europe in the past ten years with some containing chemicals that have still not been completely identified, and whose effects on the human body and mind are unknown.
Synthetic Drugs: The Unknowns and Their Effects
One of these is Kratom, a tree in which the leaves can be used as a recreational drug. It contains a chemical called mitragynine which works like opioid drugs such as codeine and morphine. Kratom use has been linked to serious side effects including hallucinations, seizures, liver damage, withdrawal, and death.
People use Kratom for withdrawals from heroin, morphine, and other opioid drugs, as well as cough, depression, anxiety, and many other conditions—but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.
Due to these serious safety concerns, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to warn people to avoid using products containing Kratom or its ingredients and is banned by most states due to safety concerns.
Ketamine (Special K, “K”, Kit Kat, Cat Valium) is categorized as a “dissociative anesthetic,” is used in powdered or liquid form as an anesthetic, usually on animals. It can be injected, consumed in drinks, snorted, or added to joints or cigarettes. Ketamine was placed on the list of controlled substances in the US in 1999.
Increased heart rate and blood pressure, nausea, vomiting, numbness, depression, amnesia, hallucinations and potentially fatal respiratory problems are some side effects. Ketamine users can also develop cravings for the drug, and in high doses, users experience an effect referred to as “K-Hole,” an “out of body” or “near-death” experience.
Due to the detached, dreamlike state it creates, where the user finds it difficult to move, ketamine has been used as a “date-rape” drug.
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