What are designer drugs?
Designer drugs are synthesized, manufactured drugs created to mimic the effects of a legal prescription drug, often with the intent to side-step drug laws. However, it is a somewhat loose term that has been used to cover a wide variety of man-made drugs. They are also known as functional analogs, a term used to describe a certain entity which can be replaced to fulfill the same purpose.
A Brief History
Many of these designer drugs were invented by legitimate researchers with an intention for use as an improvement over the original, but they were scrapped for whatever reason and the formula allocated for illicit use. One of the biggest dangers of designer drugs is that they were never fully tested on animals or humans, and therefore, their effects sometimes remain unpredictable.
Some of the first designer drugs were heroin and other derivatives of morphine. Later included were hallucinogens such as LSD, as well as opioids, anabolic steroids, GHB (the date rape drug) and ecstasy.
Special K, or ketamine, is a general anesthetic which is a popular club and party drug. It may result in seemingly polarizing effects. It may begin with a “rush” feeling, followed by dissociative effects such as hallucinations and out-of-body experiences. However, it can also induce fatigue, sedation, and paralysis.
What are the dangers?
As noted, unexpected side effects are also a hazard. Unregulated drugs such as these can be unpredictable, formulations may vary as well as any number of impurities. Indeed, there have been deaths reportedly due to synthetic drugs as of late For example, bromo-fly is a psychedelic drug similar to LSD, but less potent. However, it’s duration can span several days. It’s also a powerful vasoconstrictor, which causes the narrowing of blood vessels, which has been the cause of several fatalities.
The whole point of designer drugs is to evade the law, and indeed, their manufacturers and distributors are very good at walking a fine line in a gray market. If one drug becomes illegal, a new but similar compound may be develo0ped to take its place.
There is a law in place in the United States with the purpose of banning these drugs before they are made, based on similarities between their chemical makeup and current controlled (Schedule I or Schedule II) drugs.
Labeling and False Purposes
It’s not uncommon for some designer drugs to be labeled as something with a benign function. An example is bath salts, which is not salt at all, nor is it for bathing. Another example is plant food, which is popular in the United Kingdom and derived from mephedrone. Like bath salts, plant food is completely unrelated to anything the name implies. Thus, the legal stipulation “only for human consumption” means little since the product states it is intended for something else
If you suspect you or someone you know is an addict, please seek help immediately.