What are ‘Designer Drugs’? The term is generally used to refer to stimulants, depressants or hallucinogens which are produced in underground labs either in the United States or abroad and shipped here. A lot of these designer drugs are based on the chemical formulas for opioids, cannabis and mescaline products, and during production their molecular structure is changed. Some examples of designer drugs are Ecstasy, Ketamine, Spice, Rohypnol and LSD.
Designer drugs are most commonly used by teens and young adults, in settings such as bars, clubs, concerts, raves etc. Due to the fact that these drugs have altered chemical formulas, they are able to slip through federal controls and can’t be detected with standard screening tests. For example, bath salts producing effects similar to speed and cocaine have been found for sale at health shops. Designer drugs are also easily available on the internet, with little or no regulation.
Because the source for such drugs as well as their precise chemical formulas are unknown, their effects are unpredictable. Very often, individuals who use these drugs mix them with alcohol and even other drugs which makes their side effects worse. Designer drugs like Rohypnol, which have a sedative effect have been mixed with alcohol and used to facilitate rape.
What are some signs of designer drug addiction? Many of the signs of abuse are the same as addiction to alcohol or other drugs, such as:
It is also important to learn how designer drugs are taken, to better recognize the signs of addiction. These drugs are distributed in tablet form, as powders or crystals. Some of them, like Ketamine, also known as ‘Special K’ can be smoked with marijuana or tobacco, or it can be inhaled. Some external signs of designer drug abuse are:
Apart from signs of abuse, one could also look for signs of withdrawal. An individual who is going through withdrawal may be experiencing depression, agitation, vomiting, tremors or cold sweats.
According to statistics, there are more than 200 designer drugs available. All of these have potentially fatal effects. To help an individual who is addicted to designer drugs, it is crucial to learn the side effects as well as speak with professionals to come up with an intervention and treatment options.
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