Learn More about Synthetic Drugs

WHAT ARE SYNTHETIC DRUGS?

Synthetic drugs are chemically laced substances similar to marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine that are sold over the counter at some convenience stores, gas stations and tobacco shops.

Based on their chemical make-up, these drugs are commonly divided into two categories:

  • Cannabinoids- Popularly known as K2 or Spice, cannabinoids are chemically formulated versions of synthetic marijuana that consist of lab-manufactured THC.
  • Cathinones-  Often known as “bath salts’: cathinones contain chemical compounds that mimic the effects of cocaine or meth.

Though the drugs/ packaging states the products are not intended for human consumption, their design, labeling and marketing clearly allude to the products being smoked and/or inhaled as a drug.

 

WHY ARE THEY SO DANGEROUS?

One reason that synthetic drugs are extremely dangerous is that buyers don’t know what chemicals they are ingesting. Individual products can contain a vast range of different chemical formulations and potencies, some of which can be two to 500 times stronger than THC.

 

WHY AREN’T THESE DRUGS ILLEGAL?

Although under Missouri House Bill 641, any drug that is created, marketed or sold to mimic the effects of an illicit drug is illegal, enforcement and prosecution can be easily stalled or sidestepped.  Manufacturers adapt simply by replacing the chemical compound of a banned synthetic cannabinoid or cathinone with a newer formulation that is not yet known or testable by authorities. This modification process poses increasing risk to its users, who are unaware of the reactions the new chemicals may cause.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT BATH SALTS

“Bath Salts” are a designer drug that has recently become available. This is a powerful drug that causes severe side effects.

 

How are “bath salts” packaged?

Bath salts are sold as crystalline powder in a small bag with names such as Ivory Wave, Blow, Red Dove, Vanilla Sky, Aura, Zeus 2, Zoom, Bliss, Blue Silk, White Lightning/ Ocean, Charger White Dove and others.

 

What are the signs/ symptoms of “bath salts” use?

• Severe paranoia • Seizures • Violent behavior • Decreased need for sleep

• Hallucinations • Lack of appetite • Chest pain • Self-mutilation

Users frequently describe the high as “horrible’” and report seeing demons, monsters/ foreign soldiers or aliens. Some have symptoms for 2-3 days~ Some require long term psychiatric care because their symptoms don’t improve.

 

Are there long-term health problems that result from use of “bath salts/’?

• Kidney failure • Long term mental illness • Liver failure • Self-mutilation

• Increased risk of suicide • Death

 

What do “bath salts/’ contain?

This product can contain one of many “designer drugs.”  The mostly likely one currently used is MDPV (methylenediozy pyrovalerone, but it could also contain mephedroner a Khat derivative).

HOW DO I KNOW IF MY CHILD IS USING SYNTHETIC DRUGS?
The key is change! It is important to watch for any significant changes in your child’s physical
appearance, attitude or behavior.

Physical Signs:
• Loss or increase in appetite, any changes in eating habits, unexplained weight loss or gain.
• Slowed or staggered walk, poor physical coordination.
• Inability to sleep, awake at unusual times, unusual laziness.
• Red watery eyes, pupils larger or smaller than usual.
• Cold sweaty palms.
• Puffy face, blushing or paleness.
• Smell of substance on breath, body or clothes.
• Extreme hyperactivity; excessive talkativeness.
• Runny nose, hacking cough.
• Needle marks on lower arm, leg or bottom of feet.
• Nausea, vomiting, excessive sweating.
• Tremors or shakes of hands, feet or head.
• Irregular heartbeat.

Behavioral Signs:
• Change in attitude/personality with no cause.
• Changes in friends, new hangouts, sudden avoidance of the old crowd.
• Changes in hobbies or activities.
• Drop in grades at school or performance at work
• Change in habits at home.
• Difficulty in paying attention.
• General lack of motivation.
• Sudden oversensitivity, temper tantrums, resentful behavior
• Moodiness
• Silliness
• Paranoia
• Excessive need for privacy
• Secretive or suspicious behavior
• Unexplained need for money
• Chronic dishonesty

OTHER HELPFUL RESOURCES:

Bath Salts Fact Sheet

SPICE Fact Sheet

Parents360 Synthetic-Drugs Information

Synthetic Cannabinoids-and Bath-Salts Presentation

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