Synthetic or designer drugs have become popular in the United States since the late 2000s. However, not everyone understands what they are and how dangerous that they can be. Teens and young adults are particularly at risk of developing synthetic drug addiction when they abuse these substances. Gaining more knowledge is the best way to prevent this disorder and learn when treatment is necessary.

What Are Synthetic Drugs?

woman struggling with a Synthetic Drug AddictionDesigner substances are combinations of chemicals that underground chemists make in laboratories to sell on the black market. A lot of the secret labs are in China, and traffickers smuggle the drugs into the States in bulk. Then, people package them in colorful bags for individual sale in convenience stores, online or by hand. Synthetic drugs mimic the effects of other drugs and account for a major portion of illegal substances. Most of the time, chemists modify the molecular structures of existing illegal drugs to create new ones with similar effects. This process is where the term "designer drugs" comes from. New psychoactive substances are part of the synthetic drug category. Young adults tend to use them the most because they're readily available at raves, clubs and other parties. These powerful substances have dangerous, unpredictable side effects. With ongoing use, people have a high risk of developing a synthetic drug addiction.

Common Types of Designer Drugs

Hundreds of designer drugs can cause synthetic drug addiction, but the most common might be synthetic marijuana. Also called K2 or Spice, it contains little to no cannabis. Instead, it consists of chemicals that simulate the effects of THC, which is the psychoactive ingredient in weed. Also, the plant material that chemists spray with chemicals only looks like ground cannabis. It's difficult for the government to ban the sale of synthetic cannabinoids because the chemists constantly change their formulas. As soon as the government bans one chemical combination, the chemists create a new one. They also label the packaging with "not for human consumption" to avoid criminal prosecution. Cathinones or bath salts are another common designer substance. They produce similar effects to cocaine and meth. In most cases, they come in crystal or powder form for people to swallow or snort. Other common synthetic substances include:
  • Fentanyl
  • Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)
  • Molly or MDMA
  • NBOMe
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)

The Risk for Synthetic Drug Addiction

One of the most dangerous elements of synthetic drugs is that people don't actually know what's in them. The numerous combinations of chemicals make them toxic. Some combinations increase the risk for synthetic drug addiction. The risk rises for young people because the prefrontal cortex has yet to develop fully. This section of the brain regulates emotions and moods. When the chemicals in these substances damage this area, the chance of substance use disorder increases. In addition, young people become more at risk for developing other mental disorders. These underlying conditions make addiction treatment more complicated. However, it's possible to manage co-occurring disorders with simultaneous care.

Spring Gardens Recovery Can Provide Designer Drug Help

Have you developed an addiction to a synthetic substance? Spring Gardens Recovery is a full-service rehab center that includes everything from detox to addiction education. Our range of programs includes: At Spring Gardens Recovery, we use tried-and-true treatment methods. Our clinical therapy, for instance, includes individual, group and family counseling. However, we also use a holistic approach with guided meditation, yoga, acupuncture and pet therapy. Our goal is to treat your entire person, including your mind, body, and soul. Don't let designer substances ruin your life. Get the synthetic drug addiction treatment that you need at Spring Gardens Recovery. Reach out to our friendly staff by calling 866-244-9556.