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Risky experiments: Malady of synthetic drug use

Risky experiments: Malady of synthetic drug use

Any substance of abuse that does not come from plant products and are created using chemicals could be categorized as synthetics. As such, none can really tell what is in these so-called synthetic drugs. In a bid to circumvent the existing laws, manufacturers have been conducting risky experiments to create new chemical compounds that mimic the effects of illicit drugs, such as marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine.

Synthetic drugs, also known as new psychoactive drugs (NPDs), are marketed to target young kids and teens. Additionally, they may seem legal and safe as they are sold over the Internet or in convenience stores alongside other everyday use items. These drugs are usually packaged deceptively in seemingly harmless forms, such as candies, incense, salts, etc. Moreover, they are marketed with happy cartoon characters and safe-sounding words like “reliable” and “safe.”

These drugs are poisons that are made and sold by manufacturers solely for abuse. Neither are these substances approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), nor are they tested or approved for consumption. They do not follow any regulations and have no defined safe dosages.

Understanding various categories of synthetic drugs

These drugs can be divided into two broad categories based on their chemical makeup:

  • Synthetic cannabinoids, popularly known as K2 or Spice, are the chemically formulated versions of synthetic marijuana laced with lab-manufactured tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the chemical responsible for most of marijuana’s psychological effects.
  • Synthetic cathinones, often known as “bath salts” or “Molly,” contain chemical compounds that mimic the effects of cocaine, amphetamines or MDMA. Some examples are synthetic LSD, known in the market as N-bomb or smiles.

Trail of death: Dangers of synthetic drug use

There are many tragic tales of death after synthetic drug use. Connor Eckhardt from California was one such young man with hopes and dreams, who never woke up after he decided to try using Spice or K2 under peer pressure. Montana Sean Brown was a promising American youth who had been a recipient of the President’s award for excellence. One night when his parents were away, he and his brothers decided to try a few tablets of what they thought was lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). However, they did not know that what they had ingested was the synthetic version of LSD known as N-bomb. All three brothers became violently ill and had to be rushed to the emergency room. Unfortunately, Montana never made it back alive.

In August 2013, a 21-year-old woman had thrown her four-year-old son into a trash bin and when arrested by the police, she could not remember the incident and did not know where her son was. She had been under the influence of Spice at the time. These drugs have dangerous toxic effects and could lead to violent and irrational behavior as in a 21-year-old Louisiana man who slit his throat while high on K2 for the first time.

A user is completely unaware of the effects of the drug he or she experiments with. In the U.S., some 200 to 300 designer drugs were identified between 2009 and 2014, with most of them being manufactured in China.

Scope of recovery

In 2017, the American Association of Poison Control Centers received reports of 488 exposures to synthetic cannabinoids. Mostly, these drugs contain chemicals whose effect on the body and mind are unknown. Treatment for synthetic drug abuse would include detoxification as the first step, which helps in removing the harmful toxins accumulated in the body due to a prolonged use of the synthetic drugs. Moreover, a holistic detox program helps in managing the painful withdrawal symptoms that accompany abstinence from the drug of choice.

If you or your loved one is suffering from drug abuse, contact the Colorado Detox Helpline to get adequate information on treatment. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-730-5807 to access details about the detox centers in Colorado. You can call for assistance or chat online with our experts for further information.

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