Alarmingly there is very little common knowledge about synthetic drugs. They are ‘designer’ drugs which are created to simulate the effects of street-drugs, whilst bypassing both the side-effects and the law.
The most common synthetic drugs are synthetic amphetamines and synthetic marijuana.
Shockingly both can be bought in retail, but their street name’s are ‘Bath salts’ and K2 or Spice respectively.
The law is constantly trying to adapt to the different ingredients that are being chemically engineered to copy street-drugs – this combined with the fact that they’re often sold as innocent ‘Bath salts’ or ‘incense’ means that synthetic drugs are both readily available and very difficult to combat.
This article will highlight the most common synthetic drugs, their effects, and their consequences.
What are Bath salts?
Bath salts are the slang term for a synthetic drug that simulates the effects of cocaine and/or amphetamines. The active agent within the drug that causes the high is mephedrone in Europe and MDPV in the US..
Bath salts are often misrepresented as plant food. This combined with packaging that advertises the fact that it is not fit for human consumption gives the drug a good chance to avoid the law.
What are Spice and K2?
Spice and K2 are essentially the same thing – synthetic marijuana. They consist of synthetic cannabinoids that mimic the effects of marijuana, however they are advertised as a legal high.
Both its affordability and availability make it a very popular drug. Its commonly seen as the legal alternative to marijuana.
What are the Consequences
Synthetic drug users often labour under the misapprehension that due to the fact that these drugs were designed to simulate street-drugs, they don’t have the same side effects. This is not the case.
The potential side effects are typically behavioural. Whether this is due to their addiction/dependency on the drug, or as a direct biological result is unknown. Regardless of being synthetic, these drugs still have the potential to ruin lives and should not be seen as a safe, legal alternative to street drugs.
What are the Side Effects
Side effects of synthetic marijuana are quite similar to those of real marijuana – they include paranoia, vomiting, increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, hallucinations, and the classic marijuana symptom, dilated pupils.
Similarly the side effects of Bath salts are similar to those they mimic (cocaine, LSD etc.). They can include increased blood pressure and heart rate, severe paranoia, and hallucinations with the potential to cause damage to themselves and those around them.
What is the Law doing?
There is a rising awareness for the dangers of synthetic drugs. Yet the dangers aren’t fully appreciated, in America only 42 states have actually banned the sale of synthetic drugs. The reason for this is the producers are constantly trying to keep ahead of the authorities – by synthesizing new drugs, they can’t be seen as illegal and can therefore technically be sold as legal highs till the authorities catch up with the newest ingredients.
As more and more synthetic drugs are banned, newer synthetics are created. The frightening fact is that those who create the drugs won’t care about side effects, as long as it achieves the desired high. These new synthetics have the potential to cause serious harm if this problem cannot be dealt with efficiently.
What is the Reality
Designer drugs are still drugs. There is a rising misconception that these are safe, legal highs; which they are not. Like any drug they have the potential to cause serious damage both to the user and those around them.
As with any drug there is the potential to develop an addiction. Synthetic drugs manufacturers attempt to give their products an innocent image. This can lead to naivety when dealing with these drugs. If a synthetic drug user develops an addiction, they could potentially believe its not possible to get hooked on synthetic drugs, meaning they don’t acknowledge their problem, and don’t get help.
People will use and experiment with new drugs, it is an unavoidable fact of society – but if this image of safe, synthetic drug continues then people will get hurt. They risk their health and their relationships, this can be avoided if synthetic drugs are viewed with the same sense of illegality, risk and taboo that street drugs are viewed with.
This guest post was provided by Stanely Martinson. Stanely has a myriad of interests but has recently been compelled to write about drug addiction as well as drug rehab, for more info on this subject, read here.