Synthetic drugs, also known as “designer drugs,” are human-made versions of controlled or illegal drugs. Synthetic drugs have similar effects to known hallucinogens and narcotics but have a different chemical structure. These illicit drugs are often sold legally by continually changing their chemical composition. This makes it harder for law enforcement agencies such as the DEA to regulate their use. The lack of knowledge on the chemicals used in these synthetically made drugs makes them highly volatile. Oftentimes, the makeshift labs that produce these drugs have little to no quality control measures in place.
Signs of Synthetic Drug Addiction
Depending on the chemical makeup of the synthetic drug being abused, the symptoms can vary. Synthetics are notorious for causing odd and aggressive behavior in those who abuse them.
Some of the most common signs of synthetic drug addiction include:
- Extreme paranoia and delusions
- Suicidal tendencies and attempts
- Heart palpitations and heart rate increases
- Panic attacks
- Violent outbursts or physical aggression
- Self-destructive behavior
Often referred to as Spice or K2, synthetic drugs in this group are related to tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. Synthetic cannabinoids, or synthetic marijuana, are manufactured and packaged to look like marijuana. However, they often consist of miscellaneous herbs and plant matter. They are often sold as “herbal incense.”
These drugs have led to more than 11,000 emergency room visits in 2010 alone. This synthetic is often sold in innocent-looking foil packages.
Synthetic cannabinoids can cause serious side effects that are much different than those of marijuana. Often sold at gas stations or convenience stores, these drugs are highly accessible.
Synthetic cathinones are better known as bath salts. These synthetic stimulants are chemically similar to cocaine or methamphetamine. These drugs are almost always labeled “not for human consumption” to remove liability for retailers. These drugs go by names such as plant food, jewelry cleaner, or phone cleaner to curb regulatory agencies.
Synthetic cathinones take the form of a white or brown crystal or powder and are sold in plastic or foil packages. Users typically swallow, snort, smoke, or inject synthetic cathinones.
This stimulant has become the drug of choice for many in rural parts of the United States.
These drugs are typically not sold in head shops but can be purchased online. Due to their crude manufacturing process, even the smallest doses can cause a fatal heart attack, seizure, or respiratory arrest.
Synthetic phenethylamines have now been ruled as a Schedule I controlled substance by the Drug Enforcement Agency.
An example of this is fentanyl, the most potent painkiller that is available today for use in medical practices. Fentanyl’s synthetic development allows it to be 100 times more powerful than morphine. The Drug Enforcement Agency has released multiple warnings about the dangers of fentanyl.
Synthetic Drug Addiction Treatment
After detecting an issue with synthetic drug addiction, it’s important to get help. The first step is to go through a detox program, such as True Recovery’s Drug & Alcohol Detox in Newport Beach, CA. Medical professionals can assist in the detox and recovery process.
Patients will go through withdrawal symptoms when stopping the use of synthetic drugs. The inpatient detox program will help assist individuals during this process to begin their journey of recovery.
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, True Recovery can help. Our highly-trained and professional staff can help you all throughout your recovery journey.