A New and Dangerous Drug Abuse Trend on The Rise

By now it’s clear to law enforcement officials, prevention advocates and regrettably the loved ones of overdose victims that synthetic drugs are posing an increasingly greater risk in the United States.

Though fairly new to the consumers, authorities have already seized millions of doses of these drugs, as well as tens of millions of dollars in cash belonging to distributors. One of the new and more deadly synthetic recreational drugs flooding the landscape is called Spice.

Also known as K2, Spice is a potpourri-like substance meant to emulate the effects of synthetic marijuana. Many drug abusers have gravitated toward Spice and other synthetic drugs because they rarely appear in drug test results.

Misleading Advertisements and Packaging

Unsurprisingly, Spice is said to be all natural and perfectly safe by distributors; however, recent episodes of violence, hysteria and paranoid delusions linked to the drug indicate the contrary. A case in Texas involved an individual who was high on Spice when he killed and started eating his cocker spaniel. Another one in Phoenix, AZ involved a man who was accused of beating his infant daughter after smoking it. Additionally, two Tucson, AZ high school students recently overdosed with near fatal consequences. [1]

Members of communities in which Spice has become a problem have called for prevention and education programs to alert potential users of the consequences of all synthetic drugs.

Calls to emergency personnel related to synthetic drug overdoses increased to over 13,000 in 2011 from just over 3,000 in 2010. [2] Use of these drugs is tantamount to playing Russian roulette. Poison control officials have described these drugs as the worst they’ve ever seen and have reported users turning aggressive, violent and psychotic. [3] 

Potential Side Effects Include:

  • Severe Intestinal Distress
  • Hallucinations
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Violent Behavior
  • Long-Term Heart Problems

What Can Be Done?

In July of 2012, the House of Representatives and President Barack Obama passed the Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act, [4] which broadly prohibits many of the chemical ingredients used to concoct these drugs; however many, including DEA officials claim that the law may not do enough. [5]

While it limits access to necessary ingredients and accounts for interstate and internet sales, synthetic drugs have managed to linger, proving that education, enforcement and prevention must be available at the local level as well. Many communities have already started offering workshops for parents and children on how to avoid synthetic drug abuse.

One of the biggest obstacles to ridding the nation of the scourge of synthetic drugs is that chemists remain ahead of legislation. Every time one ingredient or substance is banned, the synthetic drug manufacturers find a new way to reformulate the drug using legal substances. [6] This puts lawmakers in a constant state of playing catch up.

Get Help for Yourself or a Loved One

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction to synthetic cannabinoids or any other synthetic drug, addiction treatment is the best option. Allow us to find you the help you need. Contact the National Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Information Center (NASAIC) anytime at 800-784-6776 or through our online form and we will recommend the leading drug and alcohol rehab centers for you or your loved one.

[1] http://www.tucsonnewsnow.com/story/29620570/spice-overdose-calls-stressing-city-resources

[2] http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/11/23/deadly-effects-synthetic-drugs-masked-by-innocent-sounding-names.html

[3] http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/synthetic-cannabinoids

[4] https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-112s3190is/pdf/BILLS-112s3190is.pdf

[5] https://reason.com/blog/2012/06/26/dea-complains-that-synthetic-drug-ban-om

[6] http://data.nbcstations.com/national/DC/synthetic-drugs/

Cover Image: By English: Lance Cpl. Damany S. Coleman [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons