Designer Drugs


Designer Drugs are chemical formulations that are deliberately synthesized to mimic the effects of illicit drugs while avoiding anti-drug laws. However, their ingredients are not standardized and can vary with each production which makes their physical and psychoactive effects unpredictable. Designer drugs can be smoked, snorted and injected just like illicit drugs.

Most designer drugs are made in clandestine or homemade labs. They are typically created by blending properties from such as marijuana, cocaine, morphine and amphetamines with over the counter chemicals and materials. They are especially dangerous because none of these combinations and their effects on humans have been tested or researched.

Types of Designer Drugs

MDMA (Ecstasy) Ketamine, LSD and Methamphetamine are well known designer drugs which have been around for a long time. As drug laws expand the list of illicit drugs, new designer drugs come on the market regularly that skirt the law. Examples of street names for designer drugs to name a few include:

  • Cloud Nine
  • Spice
  • Bath Salts
  • Red Dove
  • Ivory Wave
  • Vanilla Sky
  • Hurricane Charlie
  • Fake Pot

Various herbs and dried plant matter are sometimes sprayed with synthetic cannabinoids that users smoke to get a high. Drugs such as bath Salts which are packaged as plant food and Spice, the marijuana copycat packaged as incense are typically labeled not for human consumption. The names and designations protect them from the scrutiny of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). These products are readily available from Internet sites, gas stations, liquor stores, convenience stores and head and smoke shops.

Drug Classification

Since these drug fall under the radar of the Federal Drug Administration and the DEA because they are composed of random materials and chemicals, they are not subject the government categorization schedules. However the composites of these drugs comprise such a mixed bag that their effects could be that of a stimulant, a depressant or a hallucinogen. This is usually determined by the base chemical that is used to produce the drug.

Dangers of Designer Drugs

The primary danger of using designer drugs is the fact that the ingredients are not standardized, tested or regulated. Since these drugs are specifically made to develop addictions in order to propel repeat business, drug dealers find innovative ways to sell them without legal restrictions or penalization. As such, the potency and materials used is determined by these manufacturers.

These mystery formulations are particularly dangerous when users have an adverse or life threatening reaction to a designer drug because medical personnel can never be sure of the exact chemical reactions that they are treating. Emergency room data show that designer drug reactions are very often unlike known illicit drugs. Appropriate treatment is often delayed because the patient cannot be specific about the drug or chemicals that they used.

Effects and Symptoms

The effects of Designer drugs vary from person to person and even package to package. These effects include:

  • Confusion, paranoia and hallucinations.
  • Increased energy or feelings of excitement.
  • Panic Attacks
  • Aggression
  • Prolonged periods of wakefulness,
  • Changes in blood pressure,
  • Seizures, slurred speech and blackouts.
  • Increased heart rate
  • Damage to the circulatory system.
  • Depressant effects in some designer drugs can cause drowsiness
  • Numbness or loss of ability to feel pain.
  • Disruption in the breathing cycle
  • Coma and death
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • High body temperature
  • Sweating and Dehydration

History of Designer Drugs

As early as 1925 designer drugs were being sold in the United States. In the last decade or two they acquired the name Designer Drugs or club drugs. These drugs were developed to replace the drugs that were being banned because of their addictive properties. MDMA (Ecstasy) is the one of the first legal designer drugs that that physicians prescribed for use in treating patients with psychosis. However, due to the drug’s potential for addition, its use was banned in 1985.

As more and more drugs receive an illegal designation, unscrupulous drug manufacturers become more creative in finding ways to make and distribute a variety of designer drugs that stay just outside legal boundaries. Today there is a designer drug substitute for most illicit drug. The term club drugs and designer drugs were coined to describe how the drugs gained their popularity. Rave parties, all night parties, clubs and music became popular events where these drugs were used to heighten the experience by energizing people to dance all night and unleash inhibitions.

Treatment for Designer Drug Addiction

The complexities of treating designer drug addiction is primarily due to the fact that every time the individual use a designer drug, the compilation of the chemicals and materials used to make the drug, can be different; even if it has the same name and packaging. Patients who become addicted to designers drugs must therefore be carefully evaluated before treatment can commence.

Detoxification is usually the first step in the treatment process for people addicted to these chemical substances. When necessary, antipsychotic medication may also be administered. Once the patient completes the detoxification process and is stable, they are then able to participate in a comprehensive rehabilitation process that includes relapse prevention training.

For more information about treatment for designer drug addiction call us today at 877-855-3470.

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