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The Dangers of Synthetic Drug Abuse

Poll Questions:

What percentage of teens are using synthetic marijuana?

http://www.strawpoll.me/12693506

Which sex is recorded to have abused synthetic drugs more male or female?

http://www.strawpoll.me/12693511

Opinions of synthetic drug use for recreational purpose: Good or Bad?

http://www.strawpoll.me/12693514

(Answers to poll can be found at the end)

 

What are synthetic drugs? 

Synthetic drugs are drugs that are new and emerging and are made to copy the effects of cannabis, cocaine, and ecstasy. “Synthetic drugs have different chemical structures to the illicit substances that they are trying to mimic, so they can be marketed as ‘legal’, safe and acceptable alternatives to illicit drugs. However, their legality can vary and their safety is unverified. It is not known how safe they really are as there is limited research on the short-, medium- and long-term effects of these substances. There are also concerns about what is actually in new psychoactive substances. There are no quality control checks on synthetic drugs, so it is not always known what substances they contain.” When used incorrectly or abused synthetic drugs can have a very harmful effect on people. (https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/synthetic-drugs)

What are the effects of synthetic drugs on the human body?

  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Suicidal tendencies and attempts
  • Homicidal tendencies
  • Delusions
  • Overstimulation
  • Aggression
  • Paranoia
  • Chest pain
  • Heart attack
  • Death
  • Overheating that causes a person to tear off his clothes
  • Other self-destructive behavior like bashing one’s body or head against walls
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Heart palpitations
  • Sweating
  • Inability to speak
  • Restlessness
  • Euphoria

These are only a few examples of negative side effects of synthetic drug abuse.

What makes synthetic drugs attractive to its users is the fact that they think it provides them safe and natural highs when that is definitely not the case. Synthetic drugs provide the same feelings that organic drugs such as cannabis offer, but they also induce adverse side effects that some organic drugs do not offer.

This a video featuring the effect that synthetic drug abuse has on the body.

http://www.drugfreeworld.org/drugfacts/synthetic.html

 

Synthetic Drugs in the Medical field

Although there are many bad uses for synthetic drugs, one of the good uses of them are in the medical field. Many patience that undergo major surgeries are sometimes asked to use synthetic drugs in order to relive their pain. One example of a synthetic drug used in medicine is codeine. There is an important warning listed on the medication that it could cause addiction, overdose, or death, but it definitely makes a large impact on a patient who suffers from uncontrolled asthma or breathing disorders, or who underwent a surgery which resulted in them having breathing problems.

Quick Facts about Synthetic Drugs: 

The US market introduces five synthetic drugs every month

In 2012, it was recorded that 11% of American High School seniors used synthetic marijuana

Synthetic marijuana exposure decreased in 2014 (based on recent data) when compared to numbers reported in 2013

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and its federal agents served 200 search and arrest warrants in 25 states in the US

Synthetic Drugs vs. Organic Drugs

Organic drugs are drugs that are derived from plants and animals, whereas synthetic drugs are drugs derived from chemical synthesis. Because synthetic drugs are chemically synthesized they present a greater risk of addiction for those who use it. Synthetic drugs are not harmful if they are prescribed to you, but those who seek to use to for pleasure or recreational uses have a greater chance in becoming addicted.”Some cannabinoids are commercially available. Synthetic methods for many others have been published, while the precursor chemicals can often be purchased from retail chemical suppliers. However, synthesis of the naphthoylindoles from available starting materials requires many stages, whereas the preparation of dibenzopyrans is further complicated by the need to isolate the desired enantiomer from the racemic mixture.” Methods of creating these harmful synthetic drugs are released 

What this means on a global or local level: 

It is very important to raise awareness of synthetic drugs because of the harsh consequences they present when they are abused. In order to raise awareness, being able to fully comprehend the why they are abused and how they are abused is important. Also helping those recover and overcome their addiction is important so we can raise awareness of this issue and share their success stories.

A way we can reduce synthetic drug abuse is by making people aware that this is even happening. Many people are uneducated by the fact that people can so easily receive and abuse these drugs. If we try to control the use of over the counter drugs and make people more aware of this abuse, we can help reduce abuse cases.

Some foundations that are out there supporting those who struggle with addiction are:

Amy Winehouse Foundation

The Herren Project

Angels at Risk

To Write Love On Her Arms

Shatterproof

Strawberry Ministries

Rosecrance Foundation

Natural High

Foundation for Alcoholism Research (FAR)

If you are interested in reading more about these wonderful foundations then refer to this website http://yourfirststep.org/charities-that-are-raising-awareness-about-addiction/

Poll Answers:

11%

Female

 

 

Citations: 

Khanna, Ruchika M. “Meant for Medicines, Used for Synthetic Drugs.” Trinuneindia News Service. N.p., 18 Jan. 2015. Web. Spring 2017.

“9 Awesome Charities That Are Raising Awareness About Addiction | YFS.” Your First Step. N.p., 21 May 2015. Web. Spring 2017.

“Over the Counter Drug Addiction – Abusing OTC Drugs.” Addiction Center. N.p., n.d. Web. Spring 2017.

“Related Links.” EMCDDA | Synthetic Cannabinoids and ‘Spice’ Profile (chemistry, Effects, Other Names, Synthesis, Mode of Use, Pharmacology, Medical Use, Control Status). N.p., n.d. Web. Spring 2017.

“Signs and Symptoms of Synthetic Drug Abuse.” Narconon International. N.p., n.d. Web. Spring 2017.

“10 Pharmaceutical Drugs Based on Cannabis – Medical Marijuana – ProCon.org.” Should Marijuana Be a Medical Option? N.p., n.d. Web. Spring 2017.

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COMMENTS: 3
  1. April 27, 2017 by Juliet Allan

    Interesting project! I see in your data that synthetic marijuana exposure decreased from 2013 to 2014. I wonder if this trend has continued and if it is impacted by legalization in many states.

  2. April 28, 2017 by Anna Moore

    Cool project Raeba! As I read the list of side effects for synthetic drugs, I wonder if there is overlap in natural drugs? I think some of the side effects are similar. If that is true, it makes me wonder about the degree of severity of those side effects (is it worse for synthetic, for example?). And, I wonder if a “natural” cocaine user would notice if a synthetic drug were given to him or her instead? I was shocked to see how many new synthetic drugs make their way to the market each year! Great work.

  3. April 28, 2017 by Ashli J

    Has the role of the government and police affected the use of synthetic drugs?

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