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What Are Synthetic Drugs?

Synthetic drugs also referred to as designer or club drugs, are chemically created in a lab to mimic other drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, or morphine. The resulting designer drugs typically have a new different effect on the brain or behavior. Because these drugs are created in illegal labs, their ingredients and strength are almost impossible to know. 

There are more than 200 identified synthetic drug compounds and more than 90 different synthetic drug marijuana compounds.

Many of these synthetic drugs are made in foreign countries and then smuggled into the United States. Clandestinely-made drugs have no manufacturing safety standards that are normally required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The effects of synthetic drug use can include anxiety, aggressive behavior, paranoia, seizures, loss of consciousness, nausea, vomiting, and even coma or death. [1]

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Are Synthetic Drugs Addictive?

Yes. Synthetic drugs also known as “designer drugs,” are chemicals designed to imitate the effects of other narcotics and hallucinogens — e.g., marijuana, cocaine, LSD. The following are some of the famous synthetic drugs:

  • Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 80-100 times stronger than morphine. Pharmaceutical fentanyl was developed for pain management treatment of cancer patients and applied in a patch on the skin. Because of its powerful opioid properties, fentanyl is also misused. Fentanyl is added to heroin to increase its potency, or be disguised as highly potent heroin. Many users believe that they are purchasing heroin and actually don’t know that they are purchasing fentanyl.
  • K2 and Spice are synthetic marijuana compounds, also known as cannabinoids. But there are more. In fact, there are approximately 90 different synthetic marijuana chemical compounds. Spice has recently made headlines due to hundreds of people having negative reactions to the product across the country.
  • Synthetic LSD, better known as “N-Bomb” or “Smiles,” is a phenethylamine. This type of synthetic drug mimics the effects of LSD, causing hallucinations and paranoia. The chemical names of N-Bomb and smiles are 25I-NBOMe, 25C-NBOMe, and 25B-NBOMe.
  • Synthetic drug stimulants, also known as cathinones, mimic the effects of ecstasy or MDMA. Bath salts and Molly are examples of synthetic cathinones.
  • MXE, or Methoxamine, is a synthetic compound that mimics the effects of PCP (phencyclidine) causing delusions, psychoses, and a detached effect.

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Synthetic Drug Addiction

These synthetic drugs are dangerous, addictive, and sometimes deadly drugs — including Synthetic Cannabinoids, bath salts, Fentanyl, Carfentanyl, Pink, and Flakka — can destroy families and ruin young lives.

Synthetic drug abusers commonly build up a tolerance to the drugs. As time passes, they will consume more illegal substances to produce the same high they experienced when they first started. In the process, they could be exposing themselves to harmful side effects such as liver damage, heart attack, or strokes. It is not uncommon for people to overdose on these illegal substances and passes out. There is also an increased chance of developing an addiction. This will require treatment from a medical professional.

Synthetic Drug Detox
Individuals who are dependent or struggling with a drug addiction should seek medically supervised synthetic drug detox.

Many people are now starting to take illegal drugs like synthetic drugs, such as those found in illicit street drugs and even prescription pills. This is due to the high cost of prescription drugs and the ease of getting them over the counter. Although some prescription drugs have harmful side effects and should not be taken by people with preexisting medical conditions, street drugs are available at virtually any drug store. The abuse of synthetic drugs has become a growing concern by law enforcement authorities.

  • According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, synthetic drugs have been the second most consumed drug among college students in 2012, with one of every nine 12th grade students admitting to utilizing them. [2]
  • According to Drug Abuse Warning Network, those who take them tend to sell them on the street and use the money to support their drug habit. 2010-11, emergency department visitors relating to synthetic drugs – cannabinoids greater than double, from 11,406 to 28,531 ED visits, according to the Drug Abuse Warning Network. [3]
  • According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, younger people around the ages of 12 and 29 accounted for 75% of ED visits, with 77.5 % of men and 22.5 % of females.

When someone starts having a prescription drug addiction, they generally begin with a minimal amount. They may try to use just a few of them at first to see if they will start to enjoy the effects of the drug. If someone continues to use them after their initial use, they will likely develop an addiction to the substance. Those who are abusing synthetic drugs often say that they feel “high” all the time and do not feel the need to go to the bathroom as they would if they were taking a regular, legal prescription drug. Such products are extremely common among young people.

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Synthetic Drugs Effects

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is warning the public about the dangers of designer synthetic drugs, also referred to as New Psychoactive Substances (NPS). These substances have no legitimate industrial or medical use and the misuse and abuse of these substances represent an emerging and ongoing public health and safety threat in the United States. Law enforcement has encountered over 300 NPS, the most prevalent being synthetic cannabinoids and synthetic cathinones. The manufacture and distribution of these dangerous substances may result in a prosecutable offense. [4]

Short Term Effects Of Synthetic Drugs

Some symptoms associated with synthetic drugs are:

  • Memory loss
  • Psychotic episodes
  • Blackouts
  • Brain damage
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Seizures
  • Suicidal behavior
  • Erratic and violent behavior
  • Death

Long-Term Effects Of Synthetic Drugs

Synthetic drug use is hard on relationships, friendships, and family. Deception and other out-of-character behaviors can cause loved ones to feel worried, confused, and scared. As is the case with many other types of substance abuse, the use of synthetic drugs can cause permanent damage to your family and relationships.

Although the long-term effects of many synthetic drugs on physical and mental health are not yet known, the immediate effects they can have on your family, job, and life could be long-lasting.

How Long Do Synthetic Drugs Stay In System?

Many variables may affect the amount of time that a drug remains detectable in the urine or other biological samples, including:

  • A drug’s half-life
  • Subject’s state of hydration and fluid balance
  • Frequency of drug use
  • Route of administration
  • If the cut-off concentration is used by the testing lab to detect the drug

General guidelines are available for detection times but can vary by individual. Many drugs stay in the system from 2 to 4 days, although chronic use of marijuana can stay in the system for 3 to 4 weeks or even longer after the last use. Drugs with a long half-life, such as synthetic opioids, may also stay in the system for a prolonged period of time.  

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Synthetic Drug Detox

Clearing synthetic drug from the body and overcoming withdrawal symptoms is the goal of synthetic drug detox, which is the first step of treatment for addiction. We Level Up has a comprehensive team prescribing medications that can alleviate your withdrawal pains while monitoring your health 24 hours during the detox. We prioritize your safety and comfort because this is a fragile and challenging time for you.

Once the synthetic drug detox is complete, a new doorway in treatment opens up, which is referred to as a residential level of care. The residential care program slowly and effectively introduces the individual into an atmosphere of therapeutic growth, marked by master’s level therapists, clinicians, group counselors, psychiatrists, and a community of like-minded individuals with the same aim: to attain sobriety and live a great life.

Synthetic Drug Detox
Synthetic drug detox with medical professionals is the safest and a comfortable experience to discontinue addictive substances.

Synthetic Drug Detox Recovery Treatment

We Level Up treatment tailors the program to the individual and the individual to the program of recovery. We begin by assessing our client’s history of mental health, drugs, and alcohol-related past. The needs of each patient are specific and personalized because we aim to provide comprehensive support for mental health, addiction, and dual diagnosis treatment. The supportive environment is designed accordingly to give patients 24-hour care for the synthetic drug detox. Most importantly, we hope to have our clients live comfortably within the facility during this crucial and fragile time.

How We Can Help? Searched for “synthetic drug detox near me?” or are you seeking a national inpatient rehab destination?

Some of the many modalities applied and practiced within our residential treatment facility are:

We Level Up prioritizes removing temptations for relapse and applying an air of recovery into every component of the treatment timeline, including synthetic drug detox. We Level Up finds that when clients are living in a supportive community, especially during their early recovery process, they can truly focus on what matters most: their recovery.

If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse and in need of synthetic drug detox, reach out to We Level Up because we may be able to help you explore treatment options.

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[1] Facts about Synthetic Drugs – Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
[2] Synthetic Drugs (a.k.a. K2, Spice, Bath Salts, etc.) –
[4] About Synthetic Drugs – Diversion Control Division

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