What are the Most Common Designer Drugs?
Designer drugs are created by changing the chemical make-up of already existing drugs. They may be derivatives of illegal drugs or even prescription medications. They’re called designer drugs because they’re designed to produce certain effects or highs. Designer drug use has grown in popularity to the extent that several now rank among the most commonly abused drugs in America.
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Designer drugs can be stronger and more dangerous than the known substances they’re made from or designed to resemble. Some are synthesized to replicate an experience similar to marijuana, amphetamines, methamphetamines, fentanyl and more. Designer drugs can vary so much from one source to the next, there’s really no way to be sure exactly what has gone into them or to what strength—and this combination can often be deadly.
Meet Five of the Most Common Designer Drugs
Ecstasy is the most famous of the designer drugs. It’s the prototype of the “club drugs” popular among young people at concerts and raves. Known by other names also—the love pill, candy, XTC, vitamin X, molly and more—it is methylene dioxy methamphetamine (MDMA), a combination of a stimulant and a hallucinogen.
Ecstasy produces feelings of alertness and increased energy, euphoria and feelings of closeness for those around you. As with all designer drugs, because you really don’t know what’s gone into it, the effects can be unpredictable and even life-threatening.
PCP or phencyclidine is a mind-altering drug which typically produces hallucinations—a profound distortion in a person’s perception of sights, colors, sounds, self, and one’s surroundings.
Known on the street by names like angel dust, rocket fuel, Peter Pan, whack and even embalming fluid, PCP is available in a variety of tablets, capsules, and colored powders. It can be smoked, taken orally or snorted. Because it impacts the chemicals in your brain which regulate emotions, memory and pleasure, its effects are unpredictable.
High doses of PCP can cause seizures, coma, and death—often due to accidental injury or suicide during PCP use.
LSD or lysergic acid diethylamide is one of the most powerful hallucinogens in the world. It is sold on the streets in small tablets, capsules, or blotting paper. The LSD experience is often called “a trip” for the mood-altering effects ranging from a spaced-out bliss to intense terror.
Popularly known as acid, LSD users begin to develop a tolerance to the drug, needing higher doses to achieve the desired effect. Because it is made in underground labs, LSD often includes additional toxic ingredients which can causes death at much smaller doses.
GHB or gamma-hydroxybutyric acid is another common club drug, sometimes called liquid ecstasy. Its effects can include euphoria, drowsiness, and black-outs. Odorless, colorless, and tasteless, the drug can easily be slipped into drinks to sedate and incapacitate victims. For that reason, it is often employed as a date rape drug.
GHB was once popular among athletes as a body-building supplement called Growth Hormone Booster (which it is not) and Juice.
Ketamine or Special K is a dissociative anesthetic. It is a derivative of PCP, but its effects are of a lower intensity and shorter duration. It’s another of the designer drugs popular at raves, parties and concerts. Special K is known for producing feelings of euphoria and out-of-body experiences. These distortions contribute to it being another popular date rape drug.
Designer Drugs and America’s Youth
While people of any age can and do fall victim to the use of designer drugs, their use is particularly common among teenagers. Whereas teens don’t always have access to what are considered serious street drugs, designer drugs are fairly easy for them to get a hold of—some are even made and sold by teens themselves. It is important for parents to educate their teens on the dangers of designer drug abuse and for all people, regardless of age, to avoid designer drugs.
If you or someone you love is using designer drugs, we can help!
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