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What is Designer Drug Addiction

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What is Designer Drug Addiction

designer-drug-addictionDesigner drugs are manufactured drugs that use the recipe of other medications and modify their formulation to directly imitate the recipe. The modifications may be done to slip through legal loopholes where the modified version is often sold under the guise of something else. An example is Spice or synthetic marijuana, which is disguised as potpourri, and sold in convenience stores and smoke shops. Modifications may also be made to have the same effects as another substance, but the designer version will go undetected in standardized drug testing. Different types of designer drugs have different effects on users, depending on the mixture of chemicals used. Stimulants and narcotics, as well as synthetic cannabis, are primarily the kinds of designer drugs seen in the U.S.

Many states, including Florida and New York, have made it illegal to formulate, market or sell designer drugs. Manufacturers constantly change the ingredients as states make certain chemicals and combinations illegal, so the state governments are constantly playing “catch up”.

The reason the states are trying hard to keep designer drugs off the street is the physical and mental effects of designer drugs are frequently dangerous, unstable and unreliable. This is due to the illegal manufacture of these substances typically uses different, untested chemical mixtures. Different types of designer drugs have differing effects on users, depending on the mixture of chemicals used. Stimulants and narcotics, as well as synthetic cannabis, are primarily the kinds of designer drugs seen in the US.

Designer synthetic drugs are often labeled and packages as:

  • Herbal incense (potpourri)
  • Bath salts
  • Jewelry cleaner
  • Plant food

Designer drugs have high potential for abuse, addiction, and overdoses. However, depending on the designer drug this may vary. An individual suffering from a designer drug addiction is at risk of several dangerous side effects such as:

  • Vomiting
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Fainting
  • Irritability
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Heartbeat irregularities
  • High blood pressure
  • Paranoia
  • Unconsciousness
  • Organ damage
  • Overdose
  • Death by overdose

Synthetic Marijuana

Herbal blends, which are really synthetic cannabinoids, are meant to be smoked are sold as “legal” substances. They provide a high similar to marijuana and have seen a rising popularity because they are easily available in retail stores and are more potent. They are also more dangerous than marijuana.

Names of Synthetic Cannabinoids:

  • Spice
  • K2
  • Blaze
  • Red X Dawn

 In 2012, a report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reported 11,406 emergency room visits involving synthetic cannabinoid use in 2010. In a 2013 report, SAMHSA reported the number of emergency room visits in 2011 involving synthetic cannabinoid use increased 2.5 times to 28,531.

Synthetic Stimulants and Hallucinogens Designer Drugs

There is also growing popularity of use in synthetic cathinones which are stimulants/hallucinogens. The names used to sell these products includes bath salts or plant food. In fact, these drugs are neither hygiene or plant products at all.

Names for Synthetic Cathinones: 

  • Ivory Wave
  • Purple Wave
  • Vanilla Sky
  • Bliss

 Users purchase and use these products because they believe they will imitate the effects of cocaine, LSD, MDMA, or methamphetamine.

Side Effects of Cathinones:

  • Changes in perception
  • Impaired motor control
  • Disorientation
  • Extreme paranoia
  • Violent episodes

 The American Association of Poison Control Centers reports 2,656 calls related to bath salts in 2012, some resulting in fatal overdoses. Overdose deaths have been reported as well.

Rehab Treatment

Inpatient rehab treatment is recommended to treat abuse and addiction to designer drugs. Since many of these drugs are readily available, it’s important to enter residential treatment to remove the potential for relapse before intensive treatment. Prescribed medications can be given for any symptoms observed, which are unpredictable as the exact nature of these drugs aren’t known. Once a person is stabilized, behavioral therapy, psychiatric counseling and aftercare services will be administered to support sobriety.

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