What Are Designer Drugs?

Designer drugs, as a term, first came about in the 1980s. It was applied to synthetic drugs incidentally created by pharmaceutical companies. Drugs like Methamphetamines and LSD were originally created as medications. Today, “designer drugs” are any synthetic alternative of a narcotic, usually intended to increase its potency while minimizing the side-effects.

Typically produced in clandestine labs, designer drugs are made with the goal of getting around the law. Many of the drugs popularized at clubs and raves, like Ecstasy and LSD, are now designer drugs. Though there will be variations from source-to-source, all drugs that fall into those categories are considered illegal. Other drugs, however, have been harder for the law to crackdown because of how section 813 of the Controlled Substances Act is phrased.

A controlled substance analogue shall, to the extent intended for human consumption, be treated, for the purposes of any Federal law as a controlled substance in schedule I.

- Treatment of Controlled Substance Analogues, Section 813 of the Controlled Substances Act, 1988

Synthetic Marijuana, or Spice, is often found in stores sold as products labeled as “Not for Human Consumption.” This simple disclaimer is all most local legislations require for it to be sold legally. Meanwhile, employees in those shops will discretely encourage it to customers. In cases where legislators catch wind of the dangerous drug, it will become illegal and pulled from shelves. It will then be back up in a matter of months when the maker finds a new blend that isn’t prohibited by law. However, in staying ahead of these regulations, many who use these drugs often expose themselves to untested dangers.

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The Danger Of Designer Drugs

Designer drugs may sound like a safer alternative, considering they were originally made with that intent, but they’re often more dangerous than the original they try to synthesize. The nature of these clandestine labs means that no user can be 100% certain what chemicals they ingest. Many people who smoke K2, a synthetic Marijuana, wind up in emergency rooms. Not because of THC, but the other synthetic chemicals combined with it to make a greater high.

K2 has caused people to fall into a catatonic state in Texas, lock up, and fall wherever they’re smoking. Others have bled out in Missouri from a chemical in K2 that was also found in rat poison. However, the intense sensations that synthetic Marijuana can bring on, the relative low cost to make and purchase, and the fact that it can’t be detected on a drug test have brought people to it again and again.

Common Designer Drugs

Public awareness of designer drugs has skyrocketed in the media. Drugs like methamphetamine, LSD, ecstasy, bath salts, K2, spice, and even Fentanyl have gained the spotlight in recent years. However, people still take great risk on these drugs as they try to chase a high that can’t be obtained. These drugs are commonly found in clubs, raves, and house parties and have become their own subculture of users.

Seeking Help For Designer Drug Use

Growing up can mean a lot of things today. Many look at it as a chance to try new things and discover who they really are. On college campuses today, that usually means going to parties, drinking, and experimenting with drugs. What most won’t realize, however, is the dangers that some of the drugs can carry.

It is easy to say you’re just trying it, but with the dangerous effects these unregulated drugs can hold once is enough to become addicted, or in some cases, die. If you need rehab-related help, please reach out to a treatment provider.

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Cooper Smith

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  • Cooper Smith earned his Bachelor’s in Writing for Entertainment from Full Sail University. While he was initially interested in a career in television, he saw an issue in his community and felt compelled to do something more. Now, he uses his knowledge to reach out to people who may need help and make the public aware of issues we are facing as a society.

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