Update on Synthetic Drugs

Previously discussed on TheGoodDrugsGuide.com, synthetic drugs, popular in this country for many reasons are being screened by law enforcement agencies and in research laboratories for their addictive properties and dangerous side effects. Because they are legally bought and sold, as well as being undetectable in drug screens, drugs called Spice, K2 and Bath Salts are gaining in use amongst a young population. While some may use these synthetic drugs without any adverse events, more and more stories are in the news about emergency room visits and arrests for violent and scary behaviors while under the influence of these drugs.

Researchers have now identified and explored some of the ingredients being used for these synthetics. While the ingredients were previously manufactured primarily in Asia, it is reported that Malaysia, West Africa and Iran are now creating the precursor drugs used in bath salts. Some of the ingredients are created specifically to mimic the THC in marijuana, but are found to be toxic and cause psychoactive effects that are unpredictable, at best. Cited in an article on NaturalNews.com, Dr. Kroll, a pharmacologist and former Professor and Chair of Pharmaceutical Science at North Carolina Central University states, "We've got chemicals with super-intense, super-paranoid marijuana high, we've got cocaine-like effects, and MDMA-like empathic effects." None of these are desirable to experience or witness.

Due to the increasing problems seen with side effects of these drugs, the DEA was able to ban five of the chemical compounds used to manufacture spice, but the recipes continue to change to sidestep the laws. In Arkansas, law enforcement agencies recently reported over 250 different chemicals in bath salts.

Also reported by NaturalNews.com is that amphetamine-type stimulants, a category that includes bath salt combinations, are the most frequently-used drugs in the world, more popular than heroin or cocaine. This trend is alarming when coupled with the surge of mental health clients with symptoms of psychosis, a possible side-effect of these drugs.

Several new truths have recently appeared regarding bath salts. The first is that they are no longer legal. Secondly, there is evidence to showcase some of the ingredients as being addictive. Their safety is no longer a believable marketing ploy, since the detection of numerous side effects that can be long-term if not permanent. And now the ingredients can be screened for in numerous drug testing situations. Research was stepped up in 2012 and these are the new facts about bath salts.

One user of spice likened the effects to those of "a shot of methamphetamine with a PCP chaser." No wonder people are reporting so many cases where the users are super-strong, sweating profusely, and experiencing heart palpitations. Violent headaches, superhuman strength, paranoia, vision problems (including hallucinations), and distorted decision making are some of the side effects being seen in the emergency rooms.

Another side effect found in the case of "blueberry spice" which caused the hospitalization of 15 users in Casper, Wyoming last March was kidney failure for three of those affected by smoking and ingesting this product. This impact is seen when rhabdomyolysis occurs from use of bath salts. Breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue is rhabdomyolysis, and it can lead to serious complications such as kidney damage. Symptoms of overdose and/or toxic levels of this drug in the body are frequently witnessed to be agitation; superhuman exhibits of strength coupled with angry outbursts, hypertension, chest pain and palpitations, hallucinations, and even reported cases where death ensued. Psychotic episodes were also experienced by users who smoked or ingested spice, which leads to mis-diagnosed schizophrenia in young persons. Because this damage can be permanent in similar drugs of abuse, it is a dangerous drug to be experimenting with.


Kelly McClanahan has an MSW in clinical social work, with a specialization in substance abuse treatment. Having worked in this field for over 20 years, she is currently working on her certification as an addictions' counselor.

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