The past few years have seen a rise in the use and sales of synthetic drugs. A synthetic drug is a chemical compound made in a lab with the sole purpose of recreating effects of an illegal drug. By creating a unique chemical make-up, these vendors are able to get around state and federal laws. The synthetic drugs are sold with the label of “Not for Human Consumption” to make selling them easier. Since they are not being explicitly sold for human use, they do not have to go through any sort of government testing.
Make no mistake; these drugs have life threatening effects. Legal or not, avoid these dangerous synthetic drugs.
The Perpetrators and Their Effects
There are synthetic versions of almost every illegal drug. The majority of them are not widely used. There are two major perpetrators that have become an epidemic and cause serious issues: spice and bath salts.
- Spice – This synthetic form of marijuana has become incredibly popular in recent years. It is sold as ‘incense’, however cannot actually be burned like incense. It is essentially a variety of shredded plant material that is sprayed with a chemical compound that attempts to mimic the effects of THC. However, the negative health effects of spice are far more dramatic than THC. Spice has been known to cause irreversible brain damage, heart murmurs and even strokes. Using spice has even been reported to cause death due to heart attacks and strokes.
- Bath Salts – Don’t be confused, this product has nothing to do with bathing. It is not like Epsom salt and therapeutic bathing products. This synthetic drug is reported to have similar effects as cocaine and methamphetamines. Much like Spice, it is a chemical compound that is entirely unique so it is not violating any drug enforcement laws. The common effects of bath salts, according to the Center for Disease Control, are extreme agitation, hallucinations, increased heart rate, seizures and paranoia. There have been many deaths related to the use of this drug.
A Dangerous New Trend
These synthetic drugs are readily available. They can be purchased at gas stations, smoke shops and on the Internet. Due to their complete lack of regulation and ease of availability, their use has spiked in recent years.
- A study done in 2011 by the University of Michigan found that one of every nine twelfth graders is using spice.
- In 2010, there were 3,200 calls to the American Association for Poison Control Centers related to synthetic drug use. In 2011, this number exploded to 13,000.
- Dr. David Seaberg, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians, has stated that physicians nationwide have seen a dangerous increase in admissions of patients experiencing the side effects of these drugs.
It is difficult for the CDC and DEA to curb this trend. The vendors clearly label them as ‘Not for Human Consumption’ which avoids FDA regulations. They do not use any presently illegal substances, so no laws are actually being broken. A DEA Administrator, Michele Leonhart, has stated that, “These chemicals pose a direct and significant threat, regardless of how they are marketed, and we will aggressively pursue those who attempt their manufacture and sale.” There is legislation moving through Congress right now to help address this dangerous new trend.
Horrifying Cases of Drug Use
Truly gruesome news-stories have been reported related to the use of these synthetic drugs:
- In 2012, Rudy Eugene was shot and killed by police after repeatedly biting another man’s face. Armando Aguilar, a representative for the Miami Police, stated the department believed bath salts to be the cause of this horrifying attack.
- A boy in Louisiana snorted bath salts and was launched into a psychotic episode that resulted in suicide.
- A teen in Illinois smoked spice while driving and died in a car accident. He drove his car into a house – into the bedroom of an infant. Fortunately, the child was not in the room at the time.
The above examples are only a sampling of the widespread deaths and health issues caused by these drugs. There are thousands of examples where users were hospitalized, even from only trying the drug once.
Avoid These Synthetics
While they are presently legal, they are among the most damaging substances available. If you are presently using these substances, please seek help to stop. It doesn’t matter if they are legal or not, they are very dangerous and must be avoided.
This article was written by Adam Watterson. Adam has over four years of experience working in drug rehab and has written other articles such as “Is It Drug Abuse Or Drug Addiction” on behalf of the Narconon network.