AM Healthcare

Synthetic Drugs Addiction Treatment


Synthetic drugs are an umbrella term for substances created in labs to replicate the effects of other drugs. Synthetic drugs can be depressants or stimulants and are used to varying degrees depending on the specific substance. Although synthetic drugs sometimes have a reputation of being safer than alternative drugs, that is not always the case. If you or a loved one suffer from substance abuse disorder due to synthetic drug use, it is vital to seek medical help as soon as possible.

What are Synthetic Drugs?

Synthetic drugs are human-made chemical compounds designed to replicate or enhance the effects of naturally occurring illicit substances. Synthetic drugs, or sometimes referred to as designer drugs, often have a complicated reputation. Although many synthetic drugs are hazardous to a person’s health, they can often legally be purchased online or in stores. This is due to loopholes exploited by the manufacturers that allow them to legally sell their drugs by marketing them as a product not intended for human consumption, such as plant food or incense. 

Because some versions of synthetic drugs can be purchased legally, some assume they cannot be as dangerous as other types of drugs. That, unfortunately, is a false belief and may lead many people to experiment with dangerous substances that they assume to be harmless. This can be especially concerning due to the number of adolescents and teenagers who use synthetic drugs. The combination of the ability to purchase them legally and the wrongly held belief that they are safer often lead younger people to begin using synthetic drugs.

What are the Effects of Synthetic Drugs?

The effects of synthetic drugs can vary drastically. Synthetic drug is a broad term for any substance created within a lab to replicate the results of other drugs. Therefore, the effects of a synthetic drug can change depending on what type of substance it is attempting to replicate. Synthetic drugs can be broken up into a few different categories.

Synthetic cannabinoids are substances created by spraying chemicals onto dried plant particles to replicate the effects and appearance of marijuana. Some major brands of synthetic cannabinoids include K2 and Spice. Effects of synthetic cannabinoids include:

  • Elevated mood
  • Relaxed or sedated feeling
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations and paranoia
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Violent or risky behavior

Synthetic stimulants are substances made to replicate the effects of drugs such as cocaine or some hallucinogens. Types of synthetic stimulants include bath salts, flakka, and DMT. Effects of synthetic stimulants include:

  • Boost of energy
  • Feelings of awareness and stimulation
  • Euphoric feeling
  • Insomnia
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Sweating
  • Twitching
  • Violent behavior, putting the user or those around them in danger
  • Panic attacks
  • Seizure
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Risk of heart attack, cardiac arrest, or stroke

Are Synthetic Drugs Illegal?

The legality of synthetic drugs is a complex issue. While many synthetic drugs can be purchased legally, this is because of exploited loopholes in drug law more than it is based on the actual substance. Many synthetic drugs are sold labeled as “not for human consumption” despite the manufacturers fully knowing how these drugs are used. Synthetic drugs may be labeled in stores as plant food, incense, or as cleaning products. 

The real issue is that the United States government often can not pass laws banning substances fast enough to limit synthetic drug manufacturers effectively. If the Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, decides to fight the use of synthetic drugs by banning a substance, they pass a law making the sale of the specific chemical compound of the drug illegal. However, all drug manufacturers have to do is slightly alter the chemical compound of the drug, usually by adding new chemicals or changing out one chemical for another. 

This process is harmful in two ways. First, suddenly these manufacturers are legally allowed to sell this drug again based on the new chemical compound. The United States government must start their investigation into the drug all over again. Secondly, changing the chemicals is usually done quickly without testing, which can lead to batches of drugs that cause dangerous chemical reactions when used. 

Are Synthetic Drugs Addictive?

The short answer is yes; synthetic drugs can be addictive. Although research is unclear how addictive these drugs may be compared to other substances, there is no question a person can become addicted due to synthetic drug abuse. If these drugs are taken over an extended period, the body may begin to build a tolerance and dependence on these substances. These are the first signs of the development of a severe addiction disorder.

Synthetic Drug Abuse Treatment

A person suffering from a substance abuse disorder as a result of synthetic drug use may require a detox program to begin their treatment. Detox can be a challenging process but one that is an essential first step to recovery. Detox should also be done under the supervision of medical professionals.

If you or a loved one may be suffering from substance abuse disorder, the first step is to seek a medical professional’s help. Getting help with addiction treatment is a vital step in the recovery process. Symptoms associated with withdrawal are often challenging and can be dangerous to face alone. Treatment facilities can help guide you through the initial stages of the recovery process safely and effectively.

Get Help With Synthetic Drug Abuse

At AM Health Care, we believe in finding the recovery method that will work best for you. Every person has different needs when it comes to addiction treatment, and not one thing will work for all people. We can find the facility and program that best fits your needs to receive the best chance at recovery possible. Please reach out to us at 818-383-1297 to learn more about substance abuse treatment options.

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