Designer drugs were identified as a problem during the 1980’s. The benefits of using designer drugs were promoted by college students and trend followers, much in the way that a wearing a brand of clothing or the holding the latest technology would be considered a mark of coolness. Because the particular arrangement of the designer drug molecules weren’t technically illegal, party goers and high seekers developed a false sense of security about using them. As time went on, and as more and more people fell victim to the poison contained within them, warnings about the dangers of using designer drugs grew louder.
Designer drugs are named such due to the fact that they are custom designed by individuals operating secretly within underground labs. A majority of the designer drugs which are eventually passed around by users in the United States originate outside of the country. It is impossible to know the conditions under which the drugs are created, and one can only imagine that the intent of the manufacturer is to make as much money as possible. These drug makers are not around to see the devastating consequences of these concoctions on the population of our country, and nor do they seem to care about it. While deaths from overdosing on local drugs are decreasing, deaths resulting from the use of these foreign-made substances are increasing.
When we take a prescription drug, we have assurance from the government and the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) that they are aware of what goes into them. This assurance is never the case with designer drugs, as the main focus of the manufacturers is to ensure that they get around any regulations which would outright ban the substance. Designer drug makers are very clever about combining legal ingredients into something that will get a user high. Often, these otherwise legal ingredients were never intended for human consumption.
In addition to mixing up existing prescription ingredients in unique ways – as well as throwing in certain compounds of currently illegal drugs – makers of designer drugs will often incorporate products that can be bought over the counter. Some of the products used are extremely dangerous. Store-bought ingredients found in designer drugs have ranged from herbs and cough medicine to battery acid and rat poison.
Not Technically Illegal, But Definitely Not Safe
The production of these drugs is a perpetual cat-and-mouse game between authorities and the manufacturers. Once a particular blend of chemicals is identified and outlawed, manufacturers will simply change part of the ingredients list. What this evasion from the law means for the user is that he or she is not ever able to be sure what, exactly, it is that is being injected, smoked, or swallowed. Something that begins as the intention to enjoy a good trip can leave the party person with long-lasting, negative, consequences.
Negative Effects of Spice
Spice first arrived on the scene as an alternative to marijuana. It was viewed as a way to get around the restrictions on legal marijuana use that predominated our culture at the time. Spice was able to be sold from the counter of local tobacco shops, and it took awhile for the government to catch onto what was going on with it. This version of synthetic marijuana has sent an alarming amount of young people to the emergency room.
The negative effects of using spice can include high blood pressure, vomiting, seizures, and even coma. In addition to the risk of death, there have been instances of users experiencing a severe psychosis. This can result in a need to be restrained within a psychiatric hospital. The long-lasting psychological effects can mean that a user can end up with a permanent diagnosis of severe mental disorder, prompting the application of psychiatric drugs to become a permanent part of his or her existence.
Negative Effects of Bath Salts
This drug got its name due to resembling the crystals which are poured into a relaxing spa bath. It is often packaged with a label indicating that it is not meant for human consumption, but this is just a clever way for the drug smugglers to get around the law. Those who purchase the product tend to be fully aware of what they are buying, and are fully intending to smoke or eat it. By 2012, this type of designer drug had become enough of a problem for the federal government to outlaw it.
As is commonly the case, the outlawing of bath salts just made drug manufacturers switch up their game. The substances evolved into other forms, including into a drug known as Flakka. People who take this drug have suffered severe mental disability and psychosis, and can end up resembling a raging zombie in an apocalyptic movie. Delusions of those using Flakka can include believing that he or she has superhuman strength, believing that he or she is talking to invisible beings, and believing that he or she is under attack. Those under the influence of Flakka have ended up naked, crawling on the ground, and violently assaulting people.
Negative Effects of MDMA
The designer drug known as MDMA started out as an experimental substance for use by psychiatrists on their patients. It was thought to stimulate parts of the brain necessary for uncovering and unlocking roots of psychological healing. By 1985, the government recognized that the substance was becoming a problem. The positive effects of using MDMA had resulted in people using it with no medical oversight. People were seeking the stimulation and perceptual enhancements of the drug at parties and raves. It began to be known under terms such as Ecstasy and Molly.
The negative effects of MDMA involve disregulation of normal brain functioning. After the drug has worn off, a user can become more irritable, impulsive, and anxious. A chemically-based depression can result, and the user can develop sleep problems and loss of energy. In some cases, the MDMA drug will have been secretly mixed with other substances – such as bath salts – resulting in even more severe mental and physical consequences for the user.