Synthetic Drug Abuse

Synthetic drugs are a deadly and concerning substance that has far reaching consequences on those who it affects.  When people take synthetic drugs, they have a false idea that these drugs are not dangerous because they are man-made.  Not so.  In fact, synthetic drugs are often far more dangerous than organic or natural drugs because with synthetic drugs most people who take them very often do not know what they are getting into with them.

Commonly Abused Synthetic Drugs

Synthetic drugs apply to any man-made drug created in a lab rather than grown in a pot.  Below are some of the common synthetic drugs and chemicals that are being used today:

  • “Spice” (synthetic marijuana with additives)
  • Ecstasy (“Molly”—synthetic psychoactive drug similar to amphetamines and mescaline, based off of MDMA)
  • Bath salts (a lot of substance variability, but often contains one or more synthetic chemicals related to cathinone, but more volatile and with more additives)
  • Methylenedioxypyrovalerone (one of the chemicals found in bath salts and its main ingredient)
  • K2 family (synthetic hallucinogens that are advertised as marijuana but are entirely different)
  • Krokodil (a less-expensive heroin substitute, and it is a synthetic morphine derivative)
  • LSD (a synthetic drug manufactured by doctors in the 1960s, LSD is a powerful hallucinogenic that creates mind-altering images that sometimes never go away)

Statistics on Synthetic Drug Abuse

To spread awareness of synthetic drug abuse, certain organizations have gone about studying the problem and the crisis issue carefully to get a good idea of just how bad the problem is.  For instance, organizations like the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have all worked together to deliver the following data:

  • Approximately 200 to 300 new designer drugs were correctly identified between the years of 2009 and 2014, most of them manufactured in China, but some are coming from other parts of the country, too.
  • Young people are using and abusing synthetic cannabinoids at an alarming rate.   In fact, one in nine 12th graders reported the use of synthetic cannabinoids in the past year, according to Monitoring the Future’s report in 2012.  As a consequence, this puts synthetic cannabinoids in second as the most frequently used illegal drug among high school seniors next to marijuana.
  • Unfortunately, the number of synthetic drugs available in the US is expanding rapidly.  In 2012, approximately 51 new synthetic cathinone were identified.  Also, 31 new synthetic cathinone’s were recognized in 2012 compared to only four in 2009.  All in all, 76 other synthetic compounds were identified in 2012 bringing the total of new synthetic substances to 158.
  • Calls to poison control centers related to synthetic marijuana use increased in the United States by a shocking 80 percent between 2010 and 2012, and these calls increased again by 50 percent between 2014 and 2015.
  • A 2013 U.S. government report brought about by the CDC found that the number of emergency department visits in 2011 involving toxic reactions to synthetic marijuana increased more than 2.5 times, to 28,531 visits total.

Signs and Side Effects of Synthetic Drug Use

The most common misconception about synthetic drugs is the concern that these drugs are safe because they are man-made and easy to obtain.  But the fact of the matter is that these drugs are quite dangerous.

Listed below are some of the most common side effects and signs of generic synthetic drug abuse:

  • Unresponsiveness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Confusion
  • Altered time sense
  • Extreme anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Severe paranoia
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Psychosis
  • Potential suicide
  • Homicide
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Heavy sweating
  • Uncontrolled/spastic body movements
  • Acute kidney injury
  • Rapid heart rate, heart attack
  • High blood pressure
  • Reduced blood supply to the heart
  • Convulsions, seizures, stroke

How Rehabilitation Can Help with Synthetic Drug Addiction

Drug and alcohol addiction is a serious and worrisome occurrence.  No doubt, the far-reaching consequences affect many, and it worries people who are connected to the addict. Parents are terrified at the thought of their children becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol.

Ultimately, an addicts best option is an inpatient drug and alcohol addiction and dependence treatment center.  These centers have the expertise for addressing addiction and all the factors that contributed to the person’s mental or physical need to abuse substances.

Benefits of Treatment Programs

In most instances, synthetic drugs do not take lives as do prescription drugs,  heroin, alcohol, or meth. However, these drugs are still dangerous and can cause excruciating accidents and personal life crisis.

Fortunately, rehabilitation centers can address all of these points.  Furthermore, inpatient centers are needed because they are more effective and can keep the person away from the substance for an extended period.  Because synthetic drugs are so readily available, it is not uncommon for synthetic drug addicts to relapse when they attempt outpatient rehab because there is nothing to keep them from going to the store and buying such drugs.

Treatment Focuses on Mental and Physical Needs

Drug and alcohol addiction of any kind requires a method of address that is both physical and psychological.  For this reason, with synthetic drugs, the focus needs to be more on the mental side than the physical side.  Synthetic drugs are incredibly mind-altering, and addicts will often need intensive counseling and therapy to get through their issues and exit the program with the skills and mindset to succeed.  Fortunately, rehab offers the help and assistance necessary to save those who are addicted to synthetics.