Synthetic Drugs

What is it?

Synthetic drugs are created using man-made chemicals rather than natural ingredients. There is a category of synthetic drugs known as designer drugs, which are a synthetic (chemically made) version of an illegal drug that was slightly altered to avoid having it classified as illegal. Due to the constantly growing number of chemicals that are developed, designer drug users have no way of knowing what the drugs they take might contain.

Types

Synthetic Marijuana
Most commonly known as Spice or K2, is a mixture of herbs and spices that are sprayed with a chemical with similarities to THC, the mind-altering ingredient found in marijuana.

Synthetic drugs such as Spice and K2 are often falsely advertised as “safe,” “natural” and “legal” highs. The truth is that they are technically not legal and are definitely not natural or safe.

Heath Effects of Synthetic Marijuana

Short Term

On the Mind:

  • Unresponsiveness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Confusion
  • Altered time sense
  • Extreme anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Severe paranoia
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Psychosis
  • Potential suicide
  • Some users under the influence of synthetic marijuana have been involved in homicides

On the Body:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Heavy sweating
  • Uncontrolled/spastic body movements
  • Acute kidney injury
  • Rapid heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Reduced blood supply to the heart
  • Heart attack
  • Convulsions
  • Seizures
  • Strokes

Long Term

  • The long-term effects on humans are not fully known, but poison center experts report that effects of synthetic marijuana can be life-threatening.
  • It can be addictive and therefore lead to withdrawal symptoms which include craving, nightmares, heavy sweating, nausea, tremors, headaches, extreme tiredness, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, problems thinking clearly and neglect of other interests or duties.
  • After repeated and long-term use of the drug, users can experience forgetfulness and confusion. Some users have reported experiencing paralysis.

Bath Salts
Bath Salts don’t refer to any single drug, but rather a group of similar substances, chemically-made versions of a type of drug found in the Khat plant, an evergreen shrub from East Africa and southern Arabia. Bath Salts are referred to as synthetic stimulants and can also cause hallucinations like that of LSD. Bath Salts often contain a varied mix of chemicals, so even if the packaging looks the same, one never knows what the product actually contains.

Heath Effects of Bath Salts

Short Term

On the Mind:

  • Uncontrollable craving for the drug
  • Insomnia
  • False euphoria rapidly evolving into paranoia
  • Nightmares
  • Depression
  • Severe agitation
  • Hallucinations and delusions
  • Self-harm
  • Suicidal thoughts or suicide
  • Psychosis
  • Violent behavior

 

On the Body:

  • Skin rash
  • Mephedrone stink
  • (the person smells like mephedrone, a drug used in Bath Salts)
  • Skin-crawling sensation
  • Excessive sweating
  • High fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Nosebleed and “nose burns”
  • Pain at the back of the mouth
  • Ringing or buzzing in the ears
  • Excessive grinding of teeth
  • Muscular cramping or tension
  • Numbness/tingling
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Rapid involuntary movement of the eyes
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Chest pains and heart attacks
  • Headaches
  • Seizures
  • Brainstem herniation – (increase of pressure inside the skull that can cause death)

 

Long Term

  • Increased blood pressure and heart rate
  • Kidney damage and failure
  • Liver damage
  • Breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue – (muscles that bring about the movement of the bones of the skeleton)
  • Brain swelling and brain death
  • Death

N-BOMe
N-BOMe, commonly referred to as “N-bomb” or “Smiles,” is a powerful synthetic hallucinogen sold as an alternative to LSD or mescaline (a hallucinogenic drug made from a cactus plant). N-bomb is so toxic that it requires a filter mask, gloves and glasses while handling it.

Heath Effects of N-BOMe

Short Term

On the Mind:

  • Visual and auditory (relating to hearing) hallucinations
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Scrambled communication
  • Aggression
  • Paranoia and panic
  • Agitation
  • Insomnia

 

On the Body:

  • Shaking
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Fainting and loss of consciousness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Difficulty breathing
  • High white cell count
  • Rapid heart rate
  • High acid level in the body (potentially leading to coma and death)
  • Extremely high blood pressure
  • Extremely high fever
  • Seizures/involuntary flailing and thrashing
  • Kidney failure
  • Heart attack
  • Respiratory failure
  • Bleeding in the brain

 

Long Term

  • Persistent and severe anxiety and depression that may last for months or years. It shows up as visual hallucinations in the form of trailing colors, widely distorted visual images, and color flashes.
  • Seizures
  • Can result in kidney failure or death.
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