Considering all of the clever names associated with synthetic drugs, it might be difficult to imagine the real damage that they can do. Some of them are more commonly known. Ecstasy, for example, has been around for quite some time. LSD, for even longer. But new ones emerge all the time. Some of the more recent designer drugs include spice, smiles, flakka, and kratom.

Drug rehab centers are all too aware of these designer drugs and the dangers that they carry. And Cornerstone Recovery Center can help break the cycle of abuse.

What is a Synthetic Drug?

A synthetic drug, also called a “designer” drug, is one that’s created not by a pharmaceutical company, but someone in an underground lab. Some of these labs are even found in residential areas. Synthetic drugs are created to mimic known controlled substances in an effort to get a similar high. But they are just different enough in chemical composition, at least at the time of development, to escape classification as an illegal drug. As new designer drugs are discovered, they are systematically classified and often made illegal.

Astonishingly, some synthetic drugs are sold out in the open, at convenience stores and smoke shops. That is, until they’re discovered and banned. Synthetic marijuana has been one of the most common. It’s known as Spice, K2, incense, and several other names. But unlike actual marijuana, the only thing that’s “natural” about it is the shredded plant material that the synthetic drug chemicals are applied to before sale.

Aside from the health risks involved with synthetic drugs, one of the most dangerous things about them is their prevalence. When one is outlawed, another with a very slight difference in chemical composition appears to take its place.

How Dangerous are They?

Designer drugs are often called “party drugs.” Young people are the most common abusers, and the highest concentration of emergency room visits and even deaths are found in teenagers and people in their early twenties. Spice and Bath Salts are two common examples, but there are many others.

Spice is marketed as a mood enhancer or relaxer similar to marijuana, but it often has powerful hallucinogenic effects. The unpredictable nature of this drug can leave users with a host of health effects, including vomiting, elevated blood pressure, and heart attack, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The fact that packets are labeled as “not for human consumption” apparently doesn’t resonate with its users.

Bath Salts, which are synthetic cathinones, are also labeled “not for human consumption.” This powdery or crystal-looking drug is similar to amphetamines, and causes increased heart rate, chest pain, paranoia, delusions, violent behavior, and other effects akin to LSD and cocaine abuse, says The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

How Can Drug Rehab Centers Help?

Synthetic drugs, whether stimulants, depressants or hallucinogens, are all inherently dangerous. Whether ingested, smoked or injected, each time a synthetic drug is used a life is put at risk. Signs of abuse are similar to those for other drugs, and include mood and behavior changes, euphoria, paranoia, change in appetite, and any other dramatic change from the norm that can’t otherwise be explained.

At Cornerstone Recovery Center, we know the signs and know how to treat the problem. We create a customized treatment plan specifically for each client, with special focus on the needs of the client, his or her personality, and the situation surrounding the substance abuse. Options include a 12-step program, SMART® Recovery, and Co-occurring Mental Health Program.

Synthetic or designer drug abuse is serious, and can risk the abuser’s life as well as relationships. But with the right care, there is hope for recovery. If you or someone you love has a synthetic drug abuse problem, call Cornerstone Recovery Center today at 1-888-711-0354 or contact us online for a confidential discussion about the many options that are available.