What Are Synthetic Drugs

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    narcononforum
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    Synthetic drugs are the product of a new trend in which substances are laced with chemicals to create new, not-yet-illicit drugs similar to marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine.  Until recently, they were sold legally at smoke shops and convenience stores across the country.

    Synthetic drugs can be divided into two categories: Cannabinoids, which mirror the effects of marijuana; and Cathinones, also known as bath salts.  Cathinones are comparable to cocaine or meth.

    Although these drugs are labeled “not for human consumption”, there is no doubt that their sole purpose is to be smoked or otherwise used to get high.  The misleading description is simply a way to circumvent the law.

    This article includes a description of the most common synthetic drugs and their effects.

    Bath Salts

    Bath salts earned their name from the tiny, white crystals that are used to get high.  They are psychoactive drugs, meaning that they have mind-altering effects, causing someone to have severe mood swings and personality shifts.  Combine that with the fact that they are also stimulants, and users have problems with sleep, increased heart rate, paranoia, hallucinations, panic attacks and reckless or violent behavior, sometimes becoming suicidal or even murderous.  They can also experience hyperthermia, which means that the body overheats.

    The number of calls to poison control centers for use of bath salts increased more than twenty times in 2011, up from 304 to 6,138.

    Synthetic Marijuana

    Also known as K2 or “Spice”, this drug is manufactured by lacing plant material with a chemical that produces the same effects as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main ingredient in marijuana that causes a high.  This drug is promoted as a legal or safer high, but in fact it is more dangerous than regular marijuana.  It causes agitation, extreme nervousness, nausea and vomiting.  K2 can also produce a racing heartbeat, elevated blood pressure, seizures and dilated pupils.

    In a 2011 survey, it was found that 11.4 percent of high school seniors used Spice or K2 in the past year.  This makes it the second most commonly used illicit drug among American twelfth-graders.

    Calls to poison control centers for side effects from synthetic marijuana doubled between 2010 and 2011, from 2,906 to 6,959 [ref: http://www.whitehouse.gov/ondcp/ondcp-fact-sheets/synthetic-drugs-k2-spice-bath-salts%5D

    Where Are Synthetic Drugs Coming From

    It appears that many of the drugs originate overseas, without government oversight.  They are also produced in residential neighborhoods and sold on the Internet.

    Before 2010, synthetic drugs were not controlled by any State or at a Federal level.  Despite recent legislation making these drugs Schedule 1 substances, and the thirty-eight states that have taken action against these drugs, there does not appear to be any desire to decrease production of synthetic drugs.  Profits are high and even the most amateur chemist can alter formulas to slide around the law.

    The key is going to be drug education, informing parents and children of the dangers of these drugs.  As you can see, there a great deal of misinformation especially among American youth.

    Narconon has witness problems with synthetic drugs for some time now. What trends have you seen with synthetic drugs over the last year?

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