The dangers of popular synthetic drugs are all too real, and they are targeting teenagers and young adults. These drugs are being marketed online, in head shops, at gas stations, bars, concerts and on the street. They are growing in popularity, with favorites being the new club drugs. The most popular include MDMA (Ecstasy), Methamphetamine, Synthetic Marijuana, LSD, GHB, Ketamine and Rohypnol.
The solicitation of these drugs has been ramped-up, and young people are indulging in them at a fast and overwhelming rate. The lure of these drugs is that they are more potent and keep the user high for a much longer period of time. They contain dangerous and unfamiliar compounds that produce a variety of adverse physical and psychoactive effects. The compounds have been classified as illegal by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), but that has not deterred their use by young people.
<2>What are the Dangers?
The new synthetic drugs have proven to be extremely dangerous, and the extra added compounds they contain make for a very volatile mix. Learning the facts about these substances is important.
- MDMA, also called Ecstasy or Molly on the street, is a synthetic, psychoactive drug that produces the effects of a stimulant and a hallucinogenic drug. MDMA produces feelings of euphoria, high-energy, emotional warmth and empathy for others, and distorts the perception of time. MDMA is usually taken orally as a tablet or capsule, and its effects will last from 3 to 6 hours. It is usually taken with other drugs or alcohol. MDMA increases the activity of the brain’s neurotransmitters, dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine. There is a surge of serotonin that occurs in the brain and then a depletion afterward that causes depression, confusion, anxiety, drug cravings and sleep problems. Other adverse effects include; increased blood pressure and heart rate, tense muscles, nausea, teeth clenching, fainting, blurred vision, chills and sweating. In high doses, MDMA may cause hyperthermia, resulting in kidney, liver or cardiovascular failure and death.
- Methamphetamine (Meth) is a highly addictive neurotoxic stimulant that is available as crystal Meth or powdered Meth. The drug creates a false sense of well-being with feelings of euphoria, energy, confidence and alertness. The effects of Meth last about 6 to 8 hours or more. Meth abuse causes the brain to release large amounts of dopamine which eventually depletes dopamine storage in the brain. Adverse effects of Meth abuse include: euphoria, depression, anxiety, impulsive or violent behavior, social isolation, decreased appetite, trembling, nausea, vomiting, hair loss, insomnia, open sores, decreased blood flow, vasoconstrictor, tachycardia, meth mouth, liver damage, hyperthermia, hallucinations, paranoia, malnutrition, impotence, tooth decay and loss, obsessive compulsive behavior, memory and cognition problems, brain damage, impairment of reasoning, judgment and motor skills, destruction of bodily tissue and blood vessels, seizures, heart attack, stroke, coma and death.
- Ketamine is a tranquilizer that produces serious side effects such as: hallucinations, out of body experiences, floating sensations, increased blood pressure, breathing problems, nausea, vomiting, insomnia, psychosis, bradycardia, double vision, nightmares, muscle contractions and hypotension
- Synthetic Marijuana, also called Spice or K2, is a chemically modified herbal substance. It produces mind-altering effects like Marijuana but is more potent. Adverse effects of Synthetic Marijuana are: an altered perception of reality, high blood pressure, seizures, hallucinations, anxiety, rapid heart rate, heart attack, nausea, vomiting, profuse sweating, kidney damage, confusion and paranoia.
- GHB is a depressant drug that slows down the messaging process between the brain and the central nervous system. It has a sedative effect at low doses and acts like an anesthetic at higher doses. Adverse effects of GHB abuse include: feelings of euphoria, slow heart rate and breathing, decreased body temperature, loss of muscle control, difficulty speaking, vomiting, diarrhea, drowsiness, short-term amnesia, loss of consciousness, coma and seizures.
Anyone who is addicted to the new synthetic drugs needs the help of medical professionals to recover. There is help available at certified rehabilitation facilities with inpatient treatment programs. These facilities have experienced and knowledgeable medical professionals who are equipped to help anyone get well. Treatment programs include a medically assisted detox, psychological and family counseling, holistic alternative therapies, peer groups and aftercare. A certified rehab center can offer effective, proven treatment and recovery in a safe and peaceful environment.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.