Warner Park Recovery Center – Woodland Hills Mental Health

Synthetic Drugs

Synthetic drugs are incredibly dangerous because of their availability and how little is often known about what chemicals they include. There are misconceptions that synthetic drugs are safer alternatives because they are human-made and can sometimes be bought legally. The truth is that synthetic drugs can be just as dangerous, and potentially life-threatening, as most other illicit drugs.

What are Synthetic Drugs?

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Synthetic drugs are human-made chemicals that are designed to replicate the effects of other illicit substances. In many cases, synthetic drugs are manufactured under the guise of being a legal product and sold. Synthetic drugs are often produced in small labs or factories and can contain various chemicals and substances. 

It can be challenging to regulate synthetic drugs due to the fact that manufacturers often label them as “not for human consumption” despite knowing that most of their consumers are using them as drugs. Some stores may sell synthetic drugs legally as plant food or incense because of the “not for human consumption” label.

Due to the difficulty in regulation and attempts to cut costs by the manufacturers, people often use synthetic drugs without knowing what they are taking into their bodies. When the FDA is able to ban a substance from being sold legally, manufacturers in the United States or from overseas often change a few of the chemicals and immediately begin reselling it. From here, the process starts all over again as the FDA attempts to investigate and regulate the new compound.

Over time, however, these synthetic chemicals can often be vastly different from where they originally started. The combination of new substances and other compounds can also cause unintended and potentially dangerous reactions.

What are the Effects of Synthetic Drugs?

The effects of synthetic drugs are entirely dependent on the drug. There are synthetic versions of almost all illicit substances, and each one can have its own harmful effects on the human body. The two most common types of synthetic drugs are synthetic cannabinoids and synthetic stimulants.

A synthetic cannabinoid is a drug made to replicate the effects of marijuana. Common “brands” of synthetic cannabinoids include Spice and K2. While these drugs are often smoked and intended to cause the effects of relaxation or euphoria experienced by smoking marijuana, they can also have various harmful effects. 

Synthetic cannabinoids can cause paranoia, elevated heart rate, increased blood pressure, hallucinations, vomiting, and violent or irrational behavior. Long-term use of synthetic marijuana can cause suicidal thoughts, depression, and memory loss. 

Synthetic stimulants are a broader category of human-made drugs designed to give the user an increase in energy in some way. Common synthetic stimulants include bath salts and Molly. Often synthetic stimulants are used as a “club drug,” although they can be even more dangerous when combined with other substances.

Synthetic stimulants are notorious for having nasty side effects. Besides an increase in energy, synthetic stimulants can cause outbursts of violent behavior and delusions or paranoia. This combination of symptoms often causes people on synthetic stimulants to be an immense danger to either themselves or those around them.

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Are Synthetic Drugs Illegal?

For the most part, synthetic drugs are not legal. Some synthetic drugs, such as Molly or fentanyl, have always been illegal. The more considerable concern is certain synthetic stimulants or cannabinoids sold under false pretenses to navigate around FDA regulations. Although more prominent during the 2000s, it is still possible to find synthetic drugs in gas stations and other outlets being sold as anything from plant food to cleaning products.

One of the most dangerous aspects of synthetic drugs is their potential availability. In particular, young people are at an extremely high risk of becoming addicted to synthetic drugs because they can sometimes be purchased legally and are usually cheaper than alternative drugs. Among high school seniors, 5% admitted to trying synthetic cannabinoids at least once

Many people believe that the ability to buy certain synthetic drugs online or in stores suggests that synthetic drugs produce a “safer high” than other illicit drugs. However, this belief is a complete misconception. 

The fact that some drugs are available to purchase legally is due to loopholes taken by the manufacturer. It has nothing to do with the dangers associated with using the drug. Synthetic drugs are often just as dangerous, if not more so, than any other drug.

Can You Overdose on Synthetic Drugs?

It is possible to overdose on synthetic drugs. The symptoms and dangers associated with an overdose on a synthetic drug are dependent on the specific substance. An overdose on synthetic cannabinoids can lead to a toxic reaction in the body that could cause vomiting, seizures, stroke, heart palpitations, or a loss of consciousness. 

An overdose of certain synthetic stimulants could lead to kidney or liver failure or even death. If you or a loved one are addicted to synthetic drugs, it is crucial to seek medical help as soon as possible. Misconceptions around synthetic drugs may cause people to believe they are safer means of getting high, but the reality is that they can be incredibly dangerous or even fatal.

Synthetic Drug Addiction Treatment

It is important to find the treatment option that works best for you with any substance abuse issue. The same treatment may not be useful for all individuals, and its success is dependent on a person’s personality and background. Dual diagnosis treatment is a valuable option that helps you through your recovery process and goes further to examine the psychological reasons often at the root cause of addiction. 

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is also a helpful tool in treating addiction. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, works to reframe negative feelings that can lead to addictive behaviors. By reinforcing positive thoughts, we can better achieve healthier behavior when put in circumstances that may be difficult or would have led to addictive behaviors in the past.

If you or a loved one are suffering from a synthetic drug use disorder, it is essential to seek help as soon as possible. At Warner Park, we can help you through the early stages of recovery and find the treatment that will work best for you. Please call us today at 866-623-6905 to learn more about potential treatment options.

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If you or anyone you know is dealing with issues around mental health or addiction, contact us for a full evaluation and treatment options.  We understand that it is not a process that any individual should tackle alone, and that is why we have a team of qualified personnel who are available to offer you the help you need.