One of the most recent and serious problems facing the country lately is an influx of synthetic substances. These drugs are destroying lives and causing deaths. They’re unlike the natural substances most people identify as common drugs, and are more dangerous in many cases. You should know some of the main dangers of synthetic drugs and the ways they differ from natural substances.
Understanding Synthetic Drugs
These types of drugs are substances made in a laboratory with the express intention of creating a high or sensation similar to a natural drug derived from organic compounds. They’re made in laboratories using a variety of harsh chemicals. Some drugs are made to simply emulate a natural substance that’s hard to get. Others attempt to create a more intense experience for the user. Synthetics are causing numerous deaths annually across the country and around the world.
Synthetic substances are created for a few reasons today. The first is to create a drug that’s not technically illegal or regulated by the government. This allows it to be easily distributed and sold in storefronts without immediate repercussions. Another reason is that creating these synthetics can be very lucrative. It often costs less to mix random dangerous chemicals together than to go through a long process to extract natural substances.
The majority of synthetic substances are made overseas in illicit laboratories in places like China and India. They get into the country by being labeled as plant food or another industrial product. The synthetics are then broken down and sold under different names and styles of packaging across the United States. It can take weeks, months or years for law enforcement to realize a product is actually a synthetic drug.
The Dangers of Synthetic Drugs vs. Natural Substances
Both synthetic and natural drugs are dangerous. This is especially true when abused in large amounts. The reality is that synthetic substances present new dangers to the user, with the majority being much more dangerous than most natural drugs. Read on to learn some of the main dangers of synthetic substances.
The Contents Are Unknown
One of the primary dangers is that the contents of the synthetic substance are completely unknown. There could be anything inside of the drug. This is different from natural substances, where most of the drug contains at least one known active ingredient. Synthetic substances might contain toxic cleaning solutions, flakes of metal or concentrated poisons. Taking a synthetic substance is incredibly dangerous because it could be deadly. There might not even be any consistency of ingredients between batches of the same synthetic from the same manufacturer.
Little to No Research
Most of the natural intoxicants and psychoactive substances available today have been studied for a long time. There’s extensive research on the effects of the substances on the body and mind. Although those effects are negative, it’s still important information available to people who are trying to make decisions about whether to use drugs. Synthetic substances have been around for such a short time that there’s little to no research on the drugs. This means the extent of the harm the drugs can do is completely unknown.
The next danger is adverse interactions with other substances. The synthetic substance could contain nearly anything. This means taking the drug could cause adverse reactions with medications or even common items like orange juice. A person could go into shock or have a severe allergic reaction. The potential interactions with other substances like nicotine or an over-the-counter painkiller could even cause death.
Dosages Are Unknown
A very real danger when dealing with synthetic substances is that the effects of different dosages are unpredictable. Just a small amount could cause an extreme high that nearly incapacitates a person for hours. The amount needed to cause an overdose might be very low. There are no guidelines because the drugs haven’t been around for a long time and have different effects on various people. The inability to know what the intended dosage is means that doing any amount of a synthetic substance comes with the risk of an immediate overdose or worse.
A major danger of synthetic drugs over natural substances is that the effects are unpredictable. Many natural substances have well-known and well-documented effects on the human body. Synthetics can have completely random effects based on the individual taking the drug. Synthetics have been known to send people into violent rages that end in assault or murder. They’ve put people into comas and caused seizures. This makes synthetic substances far more dangerous than most natural drugs.
Another factor with which to be concerned is that synthetic substances are far more susceptible to contamination than natural substances. This is because the drugs are usually produced in substandard conditions by people who don’t care much about the end product. The result could be drugs that arrive tainted with anything from illegal pesticides to pieces of powdered glass. Contaminated synthetics can cause immediate harm and could be deadly.
Existing Medical Treatments Could Be Ineffective
Medical professionals have been dealing with the problems related to natural substances for decades. There are special treatments and medications in place if a person does overdose or experiences a life-threatening problem when using a natural substance. This isn’t true with synthetics. Medical professionals might not have effective or safe treatments for people who overdose on unknown synthetic substances. This puts users at risk every time the drug is taken.
A final known danger that exists with synthetic substances is sudden death. Some of these drugs are so powerful or contain such lethal combinations of chemicals that the person taking the synthetic substance can die within minutes. This happens because the person becomes unable to breathe, has a fatal seizure or suffers a heart attack. There’s no way to tell which synthetic substance will cause or individual will experience sudden death.
Synthetic substances are a real danger that can take the life of a person at any time. If you or a loved one is experiencing problems with synthetic drugs, treatment is needed right away. You can call the helpline at 800-447-9081 to talk to a specialist about how to get the treatment you need.