Why Synthetic Drug Dangers Are Starting a Global Trend

Why Synthetic Drug Dangers Are Starting a Global Trend

They have innocent sounding names such as “bath salts,” “herbal incense,” “plant food,” “spice,” and jewelry cleaner.” Until recently, they have been entirely legal, and people of any age could purchase them over the internet or even in person at gas stations and convenience stores throughout the nation. In spite of their seemingly harmless names and their legality, they are dangerous and potentially addictive. What are they? Synthetic drugs. They are also commonly referred to as designer drugs, as well as new psychoactive substances (NPS). Whatever you call them, they are increasingly common in the United States. 

First detected within our borders by the Drug Enforcement Administration only a few years ago, they have become surprisingly widespread nationwide. In fact, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that synthetic marijuana was the second most commonly used drug among high school seniors in 2012. As evidence of just how dangerous synthetic drugs really are, consider the fact that there were more than 28,500 visits to the emergency room involving synthetic marijuana in 2011 alone. The problem of synthetic drugs is not limited to the U.S. Indeed, many of these drugs originally came to America from Asia and Europe, and they are causing harms among the populace of countries in those areas of the world, as well.

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy weighed in on the topic of synthetic drug abuse on June 26, commemorating the fact of the United Nations’ International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. It was the intention of the White House drug control team to provide the American public with information about the issue as a warning against the dangers of synthetic drugs in communities nationwide. President Obama signed the Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act of 2012 into law in the summer of last year, and the White House continues to express concern about this subject. In the recent discussion of synthetic drugs, the Administration pointed to the fact that the UN had released a new publication, its World Drug Report. In this report, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime detailed the fact that the rates of synthetic drug abuse are on the rise in 70 out of the 80 countries that report data to the global government agency.

Synthetic Drugs: On the Rise Worldwide

Synthetic drugs are becoming increasingly popular throughout the world, but they are not surging on a rising tide of overall drug use. On the contrary, traditional drugs are declining in popularity, with plant-based substances including heroin and cocaine falling gradually out of favor. Part of the problem is that many people simply do not realize that synthetic drugs are dangerous. In areas where they are still legal, users often make the false assumption that legal equals safe. Even in areas where they have been banned, many people do not yet realize that the drugs are illegal. In light of this, it is clear that more work needs to be done to educate the public about the nature of synthetic drugs and what makes them dangerous. Not only are they potentially harmful in the same ways as traditional drugs are, but they also carry additional risks due to the fact that the chemicals used to make these substances are relatively unknown in terms of their effects on the human body. Consequently, thousands of people who use these drugs end up calling poison control centers or being taken to the hospital for emergency medical treatment after suffering symptoms including nausea and vomiting, increased heart rate, agitation and hallucinations. Don’t let yourself or anyone else take risks by experimenting with synthetic drugs of any kind.

Whether or not they are still legal in your community, they are not safe and should be avoided.