What are Designer Drugs or “Street Drugs?”

designer drugsDesigner drugs, also referred to as synthetic drugs or street drugs, are produced by altering the chemistry of existing illegal substances. Made by street chemists, designer drugs can vary greatly in terms of strength and purity. Often times, these drugs may contain agents that are highly poisonous such as liquid laundry bleach.

Because of the great variation of ingredients, the street names can vary from batch to batch. Due to unlicensed and untrained amateurs creating these drugs, they can be extremely dangerous. In many cases, these altered drugs are far more dangerous and powerful than the original illegal substance.

WHAT’S SO “DESIGNER” ABOUT THESE DRUGS?

These drugs are “designed” to sidestep laws against controlled substances. Before designer drugs came along, drug laws were specific. Drugs like Heroin, amphetamines, Valium and other drugs were put on a list in The Controlled Substances Act, created by the Federal Government. Substances on this list were explicitly banned by law.

Street chemists who originated designer drugs knew that, by switching base ingredients or otherwise tinkering with the chemical structure of drugs in the lab, they could create entirely new chemicals – or drugs, different enough from controlled substances that they wouldn’t violate the law, yet close enough to produce many of the same effects as the original drug.

Common physical symptoms among users of designer drugs include:

 – Increased heart rate  – Total paralysis
 – Clenched teeth – Chills and sweating
 – Blurred vision – Dehydration and heat exhaustion
 – Uncontrolled tremors  – Seizures
 – Anorexia  – Nausea and vomiting
 – Respiratory depression – Death
 – Permanent brain damage

To learn more about synthetic drugs, visit RecoverGateway.org/Synthetic-Drugs

If you or a loved one is struggling with designer drug use, Gateway can help. Visit RecoverGateway.org to learn more.

About Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers
Every year Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment helps thousands of adults and teens get their life back on track and gives renewed hope to those who care about them. With 50 years of treatment experience, our specialists take the time to understand of the specific needs of each individual. We then develop a customized treatment plan with recommendations for the most appropriate care based on an individual's substance abuse and mental health history. As the largest provider of alcohol and drug abuse treatment in Illinois, Gateway has 11 treatment centers throughout the state. Gateway outpatient and residential substance abuse treatment programs are not one-size fits all, but unique treatment plans that give an individual the highest chance for a successful outcome. With insurance acceptance and a track record of success, Gateway Treatment Centers help thousands of individual’s successfully complete treatment each year, and find the hope they need to live again.

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