Recent Trends Indicate Continual Rise In Designer Abuse

synthetic drugs

The last five years have brought a strange twist to the drug epidemic that is sweeping the world. Designer drugs such as bath salts and synthetic marijuana continue to rise in popularity, despite the fact that most were recently outlawed.

Illicit drug manufacturers keep finding ways to circumvent the law and sell these substances under the misconception that they are safer. On the contrary–from all accounts, these substances produce side effects more dangerous than any other party drug on the market.

What are the most recent trends concerning designer drugs and why do these drugs seem so attractive to those using them?

Roller Coaster Ride of Doom

While there isn’t a lot of statistical information available due to the fact that these drugs are new, users tell the tale themselves. YouTube and Google are awash with testimonies from users who call the high “a roller coaster ride from hell” and describe it as “the most frightening experience” they’ve ever had. Witnesses and friends testify that users typically become dangerous, even suicidal or murderous–often uncharacteristic behavior. After coming down off the drugs, they usually have absolutely no recollection of what occurred.

synthetic marijuana K2

These drugs are designed to emulate other drugs. For example, synthetic marijuana is supposed to act like cannabis and bath salts are said to mirror amphetamine and cocaine. With their euphoria often comes vivid hallucinations and psychotic episodes.

Take, for example, the recent incident in Grand Forks, North Dakota, in which a teenage boy was high on 2C-1, a designer drug also known as Smiles. After feeling ill, witnesses say he began acting “possessed”, smashing his head on the pavement. Two hours later, his heart stopped.

Dickie Sanders, a twenty-one-year-old BMX rider, began acting like a completely different person when he began taking bath salts. His hallucinations led him to commit suicide, an event that shocked his parents and friends who had known him to be a kind, happy boy.

The Science Behind It

Scientists have begun studying the effects of some of these drugs on animals. They produce their effects through the control of dopamine, a chemical in the brain that affects emotion, movement and the sensation of pleasure and of pain. In a healthy, drug-free individual, dopamine ebbs and flows from the brain to perform a variety of functions in the body.

Drugs like cocaine cause euphoria by producing a rush of dopamine, much like turning on a tap. Other drugs like amphetamine contain the dopamine, preventing it from ebbing back. Many of the synthetic drugs in the bath salts group do both, causing intense effects on the body. Users get hyped up as if on speed, but they feel hardly anything. Those who have been on the drug described it as feeling superhuman like they were unstoppable.

The high produced by these drugs often last for several days, sometimes for as long as fourteen days. Experts are shocked by this phenomenon, and scientists speculate that it might have something to do with the shape of the molecule–it has a hook on the end, almost like it grabs hold of the user and won’t let go.

Designer drug use has quickly become a societal epidemic but there are some tips for combatting this growing problem:

1. Educate yourself on what types of designer drugs are available and their effects.
2. Know the signs and symptoms of designer drug use so you can recognize the problem with a loved one.
3. If someone is using designer drugs get them help.

To learn more about Narconon or get help with a designer drug problem, contact us today.



Sue Birkenshaw

Sue has worked in the addiction field with the Narconon network for three decades. She has developed and administered drug prevention programs worldwide and worked with numerous drug rehabilitation centers over the years. Sue is also a fine artist and painter, who enjoys traveling the world which continues to provide unlimited inspiration for her work. You can follow Sue on Twitter, or connect with her on LinkedIn.