Over the last decade or so our sober house in NJ has seen a marked increase in the number of people who have a problem with synthetic drugs. Given enticing street names like Arctic Blast and Molly (Ecstasy), they are often seen as recreational drugs. That doesn’t take away from the fact that many are highly addictive and, in some cases, potentially lethal.
The problem with synthetic drugs is that they are constantly changing and you can never be quite sure of what you are getting. A ‘mysterious batch’ of K2 that appeared in New Haven, Connecticut in August this year led to more than 100 overdoses. Unfortunately, this kind of problem is becoming more the norm as rival gangs try to produce their own brands.
What Should You Be Avoiding?
There are a wide range of man-made substances that deliver a high and it’s big business for criminal gangs across the USA, as well as around the world. The government bans the more well-known ones but, to get around the legislation, the people making the drugs are always refining them. That means there are a large number of untested and highly unpredictable products on the market.
They are generally cheap to buy and readily available and come with quirky names such as Scooby Snax or Judgement Day which makes them more appealing.
Synthetic Cannabis: K2 and Spice
One of the more commonly known drugs is K2 which contains synthetic cannabinoids. It can create a wide range of different effects and there has been widespread concern about the impact on short and long term health. Many cities have seen people passing out on the streets or rolling around in a stupor. In a modern UK city like Manchester, Spice has become a huge problem among the homeless population.
K2 can cause effects such as vomiting, kidney damage and cause violent behavior. Drug enforcement finds it difficult to keep up with the changes in composition as new strains come onto the market. Most believe that those who take the drug are playing a dangerous game of Russian roulette.
Bath Salts and Flakka
These are highly addictive and contain synthetic cathinone, which has the ability to greatly alter a user’s perception. It’s a crystalline powder and can be snorted, smoked and swallowed to get the hallucinatory effect. It’s not unusual to see addicts suffering from paranoia and anxiety and that doesn’t take into account the damage it does to the body.
Flakka is a similar drug but a lot stronger. It causes vivid hallucinations and has often been dubbed the ‘zombie drug’ because of its effects. It got the name from a case where a user bit into the face of another person while he was under the influence of the drug.
Other Synthetic Drugs
There are plenty of other synthetic drugs out there like n-bomb and MDMA, some of which have been with us for many years. The trouble is that with synthetic drugs it can be all but impossible to know exactly what you are getting. A quick high can leave the individual with long-lasting effects, not only because of the immediate psychotic effects and addiction but the real damage they can do the body.
We’ve seen a lot more people at our sober home in NJ over the last few years who used synthetic drugs. These substances can cause severe addiction and mental health problems. What was intended to be a treat at a party for some people, suddenly changed into something a lot more serious and long term.
With over 200 different synthetic drugs on the market today, and more to come no doubt, it’s time we all educated ourselves on the peril of these substances.