Designer Drugs: Addiction, Risks, and Treatment

Colored pills - Designer Drugs

By Sandy Baker

Designer drugs are some of the most sought after by those looking for a new kind of high. Designer drugs are created in labs, typically illegal labs or secret manufacturing locations. The goal of manufacturers is to mimic natural drugs like cocaine or opioids but circumvent the legality issues of those drugs.

Why Are Designer Drugs Bad for You?

The use of designer drugs is highly risky. These drugs are made in unregulated labs, often overseas. As a result, it is almost impossible to know what they contain. Every dose a person takes may contain a dangerous level or combination of chemicals.

Although these drugs are made to feel like cocaine or other drugs, they interact with the brain differently, often eliciting strange behavior from those who use them. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration keeps a list of active and known designer drugs. However, because new products hit the internet often, they are often in the hands of users before the government can intercede or educate users about their risks.

Designer drugs carry numerous risks including:

  • Unknown level of potency, and often a very high level of potency
  • Unknown chemical makeup
  • Irregular ingredient amounts that often vary between batches
  • Lack of regulation and oversight
  • Higher risk of overdose due to lack of information on the drug ingredients and potency

These drugs often carry the risk of addiction as well, making it difficult for a person to stop using these drugs even if they want to.

Consider Common Types of Designer Drugs

The number and types of designer drugs change often. Those who are purchasing these drugs over the internet may be at a high risk of using a product that’s unsafe. Some examples of these drugs include the following:

  • Bath salts
  • MDMA (Molly or Ecstasy)
  • Ketamine (Special K or K)
  • LSD (Acid)
  • Rohypnol (Roofies, date rape drug)
  • Synthetic marijuana (K2, Spice)

These drugs can be difficult to spot. Each one looks different, and some are designed to look like prescription medications or natural drugs. As a result, some people use what they think is cocaine or morphine but is actually something much more dangerous.

Are Designer Drugs Illegal?

Some people use designer drugs because their legal status is often unclear. They may not be banned by the FDA or DEA, at least at first, because their exact chemical makeup is unknown.

In addition, many of the manufacturers of these drugs work to remove some of the hallmark signs that make them easy for authorities to spot. Yet these drugs still carry the risk of addiction and, as a result, they put a person’s life on the line.

How to Get Help for Designer Drugs

Those using designer drugs may face dependence development. Over time, they may need to continue using these drugs to function. That’s because the brain and body become so used to the substance a person seeks out continued access to them. Over time, it may be impossible to simply stop using them without serious withdrawal symptoms.

Treatment for designer drug addiction often begins with detoxing. It may not be safe for a person to detox at home or on their own. Some of these drugs carry the risk of life-threatening complications. As a result, it is best to work through a professional residential detox program as a first step.

We Are Here To Help

From there, many people need residential treatment. Spending a few weeks in treatment may provide you with the ability to break your addiction and develop stronger tools to fight future use. You will have the opportunity to reclaim your health and your future.

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