Synthetic drugs are created in a manner which allows the developer to evade the legal restrictions that prohibit the use of certain compounds. For example, most synthetic drugs are produced to mimic the effects of substances that are controlled by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). The desired effects are stimulant, opioid, or hallucinogenic in nature.
By slightly altering the chemical make-up of a controlled substance, it is no longer considered to be an illegal substance by the DEA, as the DEA must identify the exact molecular structure of a compound to place it on the controlled substances list. It may take the DEA, and the medical and scientific communities quite some time to realize that a new substance, which is addictive and dangerous has been produced and additional time to identify and classify the substance. Because of their ready availability, synthetic drugs are most commonly used in younger persons, such as teenagers or young adults.
The development, production, and distribution of synthetic drugs is highly lucrative. Because of this, there will be no decrease in attempts to develop and market new substances for illicit use. Synthetic drugs can be addictive and can create severe, unwanted side-effects. Because these substances haven’t been tested by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the scientific community, the harmful effects of these substances are largely unknown.
Common synthetic drugs include bath salts, flakka, and synthetic marijuana, such as K2, Spice, and others. Since these compounds were not illegal when first developed, they were legally and widely sold by convenience stores and on the streets. Cleverly labelled as, “not for human consumption,” the developers and marketers avoided liability for any untoward side-effects.
Bath salts induce pleasurable effects similar to those caused by stimulants, such as amphetamine and cocaine. However, they also produce grave side-effects that can cause far-reaching morbidity and mortality, as well as lead to the act of committing heinous crimes. These side-effects include increased heart rate and blood pressure, hallucinations, paranoia, psychosis, violent behavior and suicidal thoughts and actions. Bath salts can also cause kidney and liver failure.
Flakka (gravel) is a highly addictive synthetic cathinone (a-PVP) that produces a euphoria like that of amphetamines. The effects of flakka are much greater than those of cocaine or amphetamines. When taken in high quantities, flakka can lead to hallucinations, superhuman strength, suicidal and homicidal behavior and liver and kidney failure. Flakka was first introduced to the U.S. by way of Florida, whose residents import it from China.
Synthetic marijuana creates a high similar to that of naturally grown marijuana, mimicking the chemical structure of THC, the active component in natural marijuana. Side effects include confusion, headache, seizures, agitation, and irritability. Users of synthetic marijuana do not know which exact compound or compounds are in the substance they are using, so the effects may be different each time they use it. Some types of synthetic marijuana can even cause frank paranoia, and create consequential damage to the heart and blood vessels, as well as the brain.
Synthetic drug use is a momentous and emerging problem in the United States. If you or your loved one is using a synthetic substance, a dangerous situation has arisen. Do not risk your life anymore. Behavioral Wellness and Recovery can assist you in restoring a healthy lifestyle. To learn more about our drug and alcohol rehab, and how we can help you stop using synthetic drugs, call us 24/7 at 800-683-4457.
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