Are Synthetic Drugs Hidden In Plain Sight Or Could You Recognize Them

Most parents would know drugs when they saw them. For example, cocaine and heroin are white, powdery substances and everyone can recognize marijuana. But some drugs are not that easy to spot. I’m talking about synthetic drugs, which are often packaged to look like candy or tobacco. These drugs can be sitting right in front of parents and they would not even notice.

To test parents on their ability to recognize synthetic drugs, a news station in Jacksonville, Florida paid a visit to a local family’s home. They placed different candies as well as K2, also known as Spice, and tobacco in the son’s room. The mother was then told to look around the room to see if she noticed anything suspicious. Fortunately, she was able to spot these items right away, but said that she had no idea what they were and at first glance they appeared to be candy. She also noted that she is very familiar with what her son has in his room, but for many parents this may not necessarily be the case.

Synthetic Drugs Can Be Purchased Legally

What is even more alarming is that these synthetic drugs can be purchased legally at head shops, independently owned gas stations and online. The reason they can be sold this way is because the makers have found a way around the system. By labeling these drugs as incense or plant food and noting that they are not to be used for human consumption, makers do not have to follow the guidelines and laws pertaining to food. These drugs are also made with chemicals that are legal in the United States as of right now.

The Dangers of Synthetic Drugs

K2, or Spice, is a synthetic drug that mimics the effects of marijuana, but is much more dangerous. Actually, K2 has more in common with LSD or cocaine. Another popular synthetic drug that is also very dangerous is known as “bath salts”. These stimulants may resemble candy such as pop rocks or rock candy. Users often experience a high similar to that of cocaine or ecstasy along with side effects including hallucinations, panic attacks, paranoia, heart palpitations, headache, nausea and cold fingers. More serious effects have occurred such as kidney failure, liver failure, heart attacks, violent behavior and even suicide. In fact, in 2010, a 21-year-old man from Kansas jumped in front of a vehicle, killing himself. It was later disclosed that he had “bath salts” in his body during the incident.

What Can Be Done?

On December 21, 2010, the American Association of Poison Control Centers issued the first advisory concerning synthetic drug abuse after over 156 “bath salt” affiliated calls had been received. In addition, President Barack Obama just signed a bill this past July that amended the Federal drug policy of the United States to ban “bath salts”. Even though these measures have been taken, synthetic drugs are still out there.

As parents it is important to implement drug education in the home and give your children drug prevention tools. These tools will aid in helping your son or daughter to say no and thereby decreasing this growing problem of synthetic drug use. Schools should take a pro-active approach and make sure that drug education and prevention is ongoing with kids in attendance.

Drug testing should not be ruled out as well as this can be a good tool for catching an early problem and remedying it with professional treatment.

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