What Are Designer Drugs?
Designer drugs are essentially man-made drugs, which contain no natural ingredients, that were created for the sole purpose of getting high. The term covers all synthetic drugs, but they are mostly considered to be entirely recreational.
Also referred to as “club drugs,” they are designed to alter a user’s reality and the way they perceive the world. They have become extremely popular in the drug market as they are easily accessible, more potent, and cheap alternatives to plant-based drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and marijuana.
Designer drugs typically have crazy, lighthearted names and are brightly colored. They are strategically designed to lower people’s perception of how dangerous these drugs actually are. In reality, these drugs, like K2 and fentanyl, are extremely unsafe. Children aged 12-17 are especially likely to abuse these types of drugs since they are easy to acquire.
Almost all types of designer drugs are classified as Schedule I or II drugs because they have little to no known medical use and have a high potential for abuse.
Types of Designer Drugs
Even though drugs like heroin, cocaine, and mushrooms are also extremely dangerous, they are still derived from natural sources, such as opium poppies, coca leaves, and psilocybin mushrooms. Designer drugs are often constructed in a makeshift laboratory by people referred to as “street chemists” who are attempting to avoid the prohibitions of controlled substances.
Since they are entirely illegal, there is no regulation or quality control. This means that every dose or batch of a designer drug has the potential to have a completely different impact than anticipated. The ingredients in different types of designer drugs change regularly. Even if one component is altered, it can drastically change the effect of the drug.
Many people studying designer drugs have no idea what is even being used to create them. Designer drugs are seen as the wildcards of the drug market.
Some designer drug examples are:
- Synthetic marijuana (K2 and Spice)
Designer Drug Effects
Designer drugs tend to be very unpredictable but also extremely potent. K2, or synthetic marijuana, can be up to a hundred times stronger than morphine. Fentanyl is a synthetic option to heroin and bath salts mimic the effects of cocaine. Designer drugs are cheaper and more accessible versions of naturally grown drugs.
When a person uses designer drugs, they may experience negative effects like paranoia, anxiety, or even psychosis, instead of the anticipated high. They also tend to have more severe withdrawal symptoms than their plant-based counterparts.
Like all drugs, the symptoms depend on an individual person’s physiology and their patterns of drug abuse, such as the length, dosage, and frequency with which it was used. Most types of designer drugs induce withdrawal symptoms that include seizures, paranoia, strokes, hot flashes, and vomiting. In severe cases, the withdrawal can even be fatal.
The Dangers of Designer Drugs
Since designer drugs are fairly new to the drug market, there is very few research to determine exactly what the ingredients are and what the short and long-term effects are. Most of the drugs won’t even show up in an autopsy or drug test, and this makes it difficult to establish new records of its influence over the human body.
It is known, however, that there is a high risk of drug abuse and withdrawal since some of these drugs contain potentially toxic substances like paint thinner and gasoline. These chemically-altered psychoactive narcotics can lead to many forms of brain damage and mental disorders. People who are already prone to psychological disorders are the most likely to develop a dependency.
Many people are not educated in the threat that synthetic and designer drugs pose to a person. They tend to be underestimated by the general public. But researchers can confirm that the lack of regulation and consistency in the drug can quickly lead to dependency, withdrawal, and fatalities.
Thankfully, designer drug addiction is treatable. Some people may attempt to quit cold-turkey, but this is advised against since the abrupt lack of the toxins from drugs in a user’s body could be potentially fatal. It may require professional rehabilitation such as medication-assisted or dual-diagnosis treatment, but it isn’t impossible.
If you or a loved one is suffering from designer drug addiction, know that you are not alone. Many people suffer from this addiction and have been able to make a full-recover, leading a happy, independent, and drug-free life. Treatment Centers XL offers a variety of treatments that could be right for you. Please contact us to begin the process of conquering this addiction.