Synthetic drugs are rapidly becoming the next big thing in teen drug use. They have been sold over the counter at head shops, online and even gas stations for as little $10.00. They are often falsely labeled as “herbal incense” or “plant food” and are therefore not subject to FDA regulation. Falsely labeling these drugs is also how teens have been able to purchase them without their parents really realizing what they actually are.
The two most popular drugs are synthetic marijuana and “bath salts”. The DEA and Monitoring the Future have only had synthetic marijuana on their radar since 2011. Officials are worried at the rate that these drugs are being produced. Though new laws have banned certain chemicals used to make these drugs, they cannot keep up with the rate that drug makers are finding new ways to make them. It has been an exhausting endeavor.
Synthetic Drugs Proving To Be More Dangerous
Many of these synthetic drugs are packaged in bright colors and appear to be candy. They are definitely marketed towards children, which is very scary. Synthetic drugs have led people to do crazy and unthinkable things, particularly bath salts. For example, an incident that took place in Florida, known as “the Miami zombie attack” gained national attention. This 31-year-old man was running around naked and attacked a homeless man. He bit him all over the face, leaving the man blind. Other users of the drug have gone into fits of rage and violence or simply lost any sense of judgment.
These are terrifying acts that one wouldn’t normally do if not under the influence. Synthetic marijuana is quite popular among these “designer” drugs. Actually, it is nothing like traditional marijuana, but has an affect more like that of LSD or cocaine. It has a greater chance of overdose, especially when mixed with other substances such as alcohol or other drugs. It is also unknown how these drugs will react when mixed synthetic marijuana. Synthetic drugs do not yet show up on drug screenings or tests, so their use may go unnoticed.
Taking Steps Against Synthetic Drugs
There have been several steps taken against this synthetic drug epidemic. This past July, President Obama signed a bill called the Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act of 2012. This bill banned the 15 chemicals continually found in synthetic drugs. Unfortunately, drug makers found a way around this law and came up with new chemicals to use.
Really, there could be an estimated 63 chemicals that are used to make these drugs. Many privately owned gas station and head shop owners have been asked by officials to stop selling synthetic drugs. Until the law can take further action, it is up to adults, teachers, parents and mentors to educated children about synthetic drugs and how to spot them. They should know what they may look like, what they are commonly named and the dangerous effects they can have on a person who uses them.
In addition parents should know the signs of abuse and take action if they see them. In a recent Dateline NBC special 2 parents noticed strange behavior from their teenage son and did not act. He ended up taking his own life after using synthetic drugs.
For more information on the growing problem of synthetic drug use go to www.narconon-news.org/.