The Truth About Drugs, Issue II, page 2
By John S. Duff
John S. Duff is Narconon’s Director of Drug Education and co-author of The Truth About Drugs, The Body, Mind and You.
Designing drugs is really not new. During the 19th century many drugs were being designed. A German pharmacist, F.W. Serturner, isolated morphine from opium in 1803, cocaine was isolated from the coca bush in 1855 by a chemist named Edeleano. Since these and other early isolations and syntheses of drugs there have been thousands of new types of uppers, downers, tranquilizers, and painkillers designed and produced. What is meant by the term “designer drugs” as we are hearing it today? It has to do with the designing of drugs by slightly altering the chemical composition of existing illegal or controlled substances so that the effects are the same or close but the chemical formula or composition is different, therefore the laws regulating them no longer apply.
The best known of these new designer drugs is “ecstasy” (MDMA). The two drugs named MDA and MMDA are derived from the oil of nutmeg and are known as amphetamine psychedelics. Both are illegal because of their adverse effects like headache, dizziness, abnormally fast heart rate, nausea and constipation, but “ecstasy” (MDMA), which is a slight chemical alteration of MDA and has similar effects, was not illegal until the authorities caught on. Now we have another alteration of MMDA called “eve” because “ecstasy” (MDMA) has been outlawed. These chemists that are evading the law and disregarding the public’s health can continue to alter this drug many times as authorities discover each new form of the same drug.
A synthetic drug like heroin called fentanyl or sometimes called “China White” on the streets has some fourteen hundred or so different possible chemical alterations. There are some medical uses for fentanyl in the operating room, but we have had 104 deaths so far from fentanyl that has been used as a synthetic heroin in the streets due to its strength. You can put enough of this drug on the head of a pin to kill 50 people. This is a highly lethal drug that man has made. Another heroin-like drug that has been illegally made called MPTP has caused over 400 cases of Parkinson’s disease which permanently cripples those that are afflicted.
What is happening here is an effort to evade the law by the synthesis of drugs that have the same effects as illegal drugs. The fact is that these chemical alterations of illegal or scheduled drugs have the same effects and dangers as the illegal drugs themselves. As with the case of MPTP, the dangers are much, much greater.