Illicit drugs such as methamphetamine, crack cocaine, heroin, and others are all extremely dangerous. The adverse health effects of these drugs is their greatest drawback. However these drugs do have one positive quality for tomorrow’s potential drug users, the effects of almost all of these hard drugs have been well documented. Most everyone knows that meth is bad for you; thanks to school anti-drug programs, PSAs, parents, and word of mouth. When someone does meth or any other drug for the first time it is very difficult not to be somewhat moderately educated on the health effects and the high you will experience from that drug. If one googles: “effects of street drugs” the first page that appears is www.drugabuse.gov which contains a list of the 25 most commonly abused drugs. All of this information can dissuade someone from buying or using a dangerous drug. With a new breed of drugs called synthetics or designer drugs this is not the case. Synthetics are always changing to stay one step ahead of the law. Synthetics have very little consistency from package to package and even fewer health standards.
Synthetic drugs are a new substance that mimics the effects of an already well known drug. For example Synthetic Cannabinoids, sometimes referred to as spice, claim to be a safe alternative to marijuana. In reality this synthetic alternative is far more powerful and far more damaging than actual marijuana. Spice is classified as a schedule one DEA drug, meaning it is illegal to buy, sell, or possess. The effects of Spice on the brain are currently unknown, however Poison Control has reported that those who abuse the drug have experienced: reduced quantities of blood to the heart, hallucinations, agitation, and in a few cases heart attacks (Commonly Abused Drugs). People who don’t understand how dangerous this drug have been known to have psychotic breaks and kill themselves after using the drug for about a month or two, such as 23 year old Jason Frame. Frame hung himself after checking himself into a psychiatric hospital due to his increasingly erratic behavior due to Spice ( Spice memorials). Many of those who have suffered spice related deaths have killed themselves after using the drug for about eight weeks. One of the most alarming dangers of this drug is that people use the drug without fully knowing the side effects and how the drug will ultimately affect them in the long term.
Bath salts are another legal and highly unsafe synthetic drug. Bath salts, like most synthetic drugs are labeled not for human consumption, however this is only a farce to avoid legal ramifications. Bath salts are labeled not for human consumption because besides being a bad copycat of cocaine, they can cause life threatening cardiac problems and psychotic breaks. Besides psychotic breaks, bath salts can cause some people to act in ways they would not normally even think of and in the case of Randy Eugene, can cause people to act in ways that they would never dream. Eugene was high on bath salts and attacked a local homeless man, as local police put it Eugene: “ had ripped off his clothes and refused police orders to stop eating Poppo’s flesh, [Eugene] showed behavior consistent with ingesting the synthetic cocaine substitute known as bath salts”( Face-Eating Cannibal Attack May Be Latest in String of ‘Bath Salts’ Incidents). These uncharacteristic psychotic are so common ABC news has a page dedicated solely to bath salt headlines. Bath salts cause a high because the drug triggers a dopamine release in the brain that is similar to the high created by amphetamines or cocaine. However the high created by bath salts is ten times more potent than the high created by cocaine (Drug Facts). Bath salts and other similar drugs are normally easily purchased at a local gas station or corner store as these drugs are legal. If a certain variation of the bath salts are outlawed a new variation will pop up days later. making the drug nearly impossible to enforce.
Bath salts and Synthetic Cannabinoids are just the tip of the iceberg. As long as youth are uninformed to the effects of these synthetic drugs they will still be purchased and abused. If we as a community and as a country can ban together to educated the youth as to the effects of these drugs we can hopefully take them off the streets. If no one buys them there is no profit base, and if there is no profits the drugs will not be sold making the streets one step closer to being safe.
“Commonly Abused Drugs.” Drug Abuse. NIH, Feb. 2015. Web. 25 Apr. 2015.
“DrugFacts: Synthetic Cathinones (“Bath Salts”).” DrugFacts: Synthetic Cathinones (“BathSalts”). N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2015.
“Face-Eating Cannibal Attack May Be Latest in String of ‘Bath Salts’ Incidents.” ABC News.ABC News Network, 1 June 2012. Web. 29 Apr. 2015.
“Spice Memorials.” To the Maximus Blog. N.p., 28 June 2012. Web. 25 Apr. 2015.