The Dangers of Synthetic/Designer Drugs

The Dangers of Synthetic/Designer Drugs

The Dangers of Synthetic/Designer Drugs

Synthetic or designer drugs are especially dangerous to people’s health and well-being. Such substances, which are chemically modified to resemble legal alternatives to other drugs, have numerous perils and can lead to catastrophic outcomes. While the legality of synthetic/designer drugs may seem like these substances are less harmful, the risks they carry can be substantial. Restoration Recovery is here to help you overcome the effects of these substances and find your way to wellness.

Understanding Synthetic/Designer Drugs

A synthetic or designer drug is a chemically modified substance intended to replicate the properties of conventional drugs such as cannabis, cocaine, or opioids. Such substances are usually produced in secret labs and sold under the guise of legal substitutes, avoiding drug laws and controls. The commonly used examples of synthetic drugs are synthetic cannabinoids (spice, K2), synthetic cathinones (bath salts), and synthetic opioids (fentanyl analogs).

Synthetic Cannabinoids

Commonly marketed as “synthetic marijuana” or “fake weed,” synthetic cannabinoids are chemically altered compounds that lock onto the same receptors in the brain as THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. Synthetic cannabinoids are much stronger and less predictable and can cause severe intoxication, psychosis, and medical emergencies. The effects of these drugs are often more extreme than the typical substance they intend to replicate.

Synthetic Cathinones

Cathinone derivatives or “bath salts” are stimulant drugs with similar actions to amphetamines or cocaine. They can lead to agitation, paranoia, and hallucinations, as well as violent behaviors that may present a danger to both the user and others.

Synthetic Opioids

Fentanyl analogs are powerful narcotic drugs synthesized to replicate the action of heroin or some prescription opioids. Synthetic opioids are much more potent than natural ones and are highly dangerous in terms of overdose and death.

New Psychoactive Substances

New psychoactive substances (NPS) include a variety of artificial drugs that act like traditional psychoactive substances, such as LSD, MDMA, or ketamine. These compounds are frequently available under different trade names and forms, which complicates their control and regulation.

Risks of Synthetic/Designer Drugs

Synthetic/designer drugs pose more threats than the effects their users experience. These substances present an important threat to public health, as they are responsible for overdose deaths, trips to the emergency room, and societal woes. Synthetic/designer drugs are popular due to their assumed legality and availability. However, these substances come with a myriad of dangers and risks.

Unknown Composition

The majority of synthetic drugs are a cocktail of unknown chemicals that can be dangerous and unpredictable, as it is hard to determine their effects or potency. This variability boosts the chances of overdose, adverse reactions, and long-term health outcomes. The ever-changing chemical composition and concealed manufacturing processes of synthetic drugs put them outside of regulatory control and quality control systems. 

Addiction and Dependence

The potency of synthetic drugs is often significantly higher than the potency of their natural counterparts, which causes quick tolerance, dependence, and addiction. People can get stuck in a spiral of compulsive drug use, losing control over their cravings or their behavior. Synthetic drugs are often addictive, causing a person to seek the drug compulsively and develop a dependence.

People might suffer from severe cravings, withdrawal symptoms, and an inability to abstain from drug use, even when negative consequences follow. Synthetic drugs are also known for a high risk of overdose and death caused by their unpredictable strength and chemical content. Toxicity, respiratory depression, and cardiovascular collapse can occur even with a small amount.

Physical and Psychological Effects

These substances can result in a variety of physiological and psychological consequences. Administration of synthetic drugs may precipitate psychiatric side effects such as acute psychosis, paranoia, hallucinations, and suicidal ideation. Such symptoms may be associated with prolonged mental effects and functioning.

Physical complications that synthetic drugs can produce might include seizures, cardiac-related issues, kidney failure, and respiratory distress. They can affect internal organs, tissues, and body systems and cause chronic diseases and disability. The effects of these substances can be devastating. They may result in an overwhelming impairment and dysfunction. 

Treatment for Synthetic/Designer Drug Use

At Restoration Recovery, we understand the specific problems of synthetic/designer drugs, and our treatment programs are specially designed for each case. Our evidence-based interventions include:

  • Medical Detoxification: Safe and controlled detox to deal with withdrawal symptoms and restoration of physical health 
  • Individualized Therapy: One-on-one therapy to address the core problems, improve the coping mechanisms, and deal with concurrent psychiatric disorders
  • Group Counseling: Group therapy sessions aimed at developing peer support, communication, and relapse prevention skills
  • Holistic Therapies: Complementary modalities, such as mindfulness, yoga, art therapy, and adventure therapy, for holistic healing and well-being
  • Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT): Pharmacological interventions, such as opioid replacement therapy, which can lower cravings and help maintain long-term recovery 
  • Aftercare Planning: All-inclusive aftercare planning and assistance to make a seamless move from residential treatment to a community-based resource and support network

Synthetic and designer drugs are a serious and increasing threat to public health, causing overdose deaths, psychiatric emergencies, and societal harm. Yet, proper support and resources can help a person treat their addiction and take back control of their lives from the grip of substance abuse. Restoration Recovery is a place of hope for anyone who needs help to heal from addiction to synthetic drugs. Our care includes evidence-based treatment and constant support. Seek out Restoration Recovery today and take that first step toward a brighter, drug-free future for yourself or your loved one. To learn more about our programs and services, reach out to Restoration Recovery today at (888) 290-0925.

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