Synthetic Drugs: “Legal Highs” are Flooding the Streets

Synthetic drugs are those kinds of drugs produced through a chemical process. Chemists sometimes make these drugs structurally identical to the ‘natural’ drugs (marijuana, cocaine, opium, etc.), but it is more often the case when these drugs are made to enhance the effect a naturally occurring drug has. Sometimes these drugs prevent some side effects that usually happen, but sometimes the outcome is completely the opposite and very harmful to the health of the users.

Since naturally occurring drugs are illegal, and people usually don’t want to get arrested for selling, they turn to other options. That is one of the reasons synthetic drugs have appeared on the market; but not many people, whether the users or scientists, know much about them. These recreational drugs, particularly for not having been thoroughly examined, are extremely dangerous and, though they have started appearing just recently, have led to poisoning and even death of many people in the U.S. and wider.

Many of these synthetic drugs are (still) legal.

Synthetic drugs often give the users a similar feeling as the already familiar, non-synthetic variants, do. Since these drugs have not yet been established well on the market and tested properly, laws to regulate or forbid its sale and use haven’t yet been brought. Therefore, many of these drugs are still legal, while only some of them have recently been made illegal.

Many of these drugs have ingredients that are harmful to the users, and the biggest problem is that neither the users nor the vendors are usually aware of what is actually contained in the product. Users of these drugs often get addicted and even poisoned, depending on the ingredients. Other than that, drug sellers as well as users can have problems with the law for doing what they are doing, when the drugs are illegal. If you get arrested because of drugs, it goes into your permanent record, which immediately means that you will be branded for life as a drug seller/user. This may mean that you will have more difficulty getting a job, getting a loan or even a house. It may also mean that people will look at you differently, even when you have long ago stopped using. Drugs can mess up a person’s life for good. Many people are aware of these risks, and that is why they turn to these, not yet illegal drugs. You can’t get arrested for something that is legal, right?

Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s safe.

However, just because it has not been illegalized, it doesn’t mean that using these drugs is safe. It just means that the dangers and bad effects have not yet been explored properly and no laws have yet been brought to regulate the sale and use. Because they have not been tested, people usually don’t know what they are really buying and what the drug they are using contains. Many don’t even care – what they care about is getting high, and this is a legal way to do it.

The most prominent synthetic drug on the market is synthetic marihuana. It most commonly goes by the names ‘Spice’, ‘K2’, and ‘Scooby Doo’. These are actually synthetic cannabinoids, made to imitate the cannabinoids that are naturally contained in marihuana and act as psychoactive substances in the brain, thus getting the users ‘high’. Synthetic cannabinoid has a similar effect like the natural one, only stronger and less pleasant. Until recently, various mixtures of this product have been available almost everywhere, and legally. Lately, some compounds have become illegal, but regardless, this product is still being sold, while new synthetic drugs are emerging on the market to replace these that are becoming illegal. The worst thing about this synthetic marihuana is that it is harmful and thousands of people were poisoned by it in the U.S. – many of those people being high school seniors. Luckily, the use of this recreational drug has begun to drop in the previous year.

Synthetic drugs are also frequently added to other drugs.

Other synthetic drugs that have been used, but not as widely and as much as synthetic marihuana, are the so called ‘bath salts’. These drugs usually contain dangerous compounds such as methylone, which can lead to poisoning. The scary thing is that bath salts are frequently added to other drugs, such as Molly (Ecstasy), spoiling its purity and making it very dangerous. Since Molly became adulterated by these synthetic elements, many poisonings and deaths occurred, and the users, not knowing what they are buying, put themselves in real life danger.

Symptoms of abusing synthetic drugs are various.

Some of the ways of knowing if a person has abused a synthetic drug is to look for signs such as seizures, delusions, suicidal or homicidal tendencies, aggression, chest pain, such overheating that a person wants to rip the clothes off themselves. These symptoms are not something to joke about, and they can last for days. These drugs are very addictive, and the most common sign is compulsive use, even though the person is aware of the harm it causes.

It is very difficult to discover exactly what a person took when it comes to poisoning, because there aren’t appropriate tests to do so. The tests don’t include all the ingredients that can be contained in the drug, so a person can turn out to be drug free, while severely intoxicated. And as one of these drugs becomes illegal, another one pops out and replaces it. It seems to be a never-ending circle of intoxication.