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Designer Street Drugs

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Caron Treatment Centers accepts patients aged 13 years or older. For more information on services available to those 12 and under, please learn more about Caron's Student Assistance Program.
Understanding a deceptively dangerous addiction.

Widely available and legally allusive, designer street drugs lurk in plain sight. But despite their seemingly familiar façades, they pose serious threats to users’ health. Fortunately, education and open communication can help addicts and those who support them begin to understand why it’s so important to overcome designer street drug abuse and addiction.

What are designer street drugs?

Designer street drugs are manufactured in a way that avoids regulations and existing drug laws. Most are created in underground labs and tend to be synthetic derivatives or variations of existing illicit drugs. Often called “research chemicals” intended for “scientific research” by marketers, designer street drugs are dangerous, mysterious concoctions that often aren’t tested at all until users purchase and ingest them.

While designer drug producers copy nearly every illicit drug, the following classes of drugs are most commonly simulated:

The danger of designer street drugs.

Designer street drugs are hazardous for many reasons. For starters, the clandestine production of new street drugs avoids federal regulation and controls such as laws and labeling requirements. This results in the production of unknown substances with varying degrees of purity, exposing unwitting drug users to dangerous toxicity and serious health consequences. Designer street drugs also cause confusion for users by constantly changing names over time and across regions. Finally, the ease of obtaining designer street drugs (both legally and illegally) sends a dangerous message to users about their supposed safety.

Death by chemical interaction or overdose can and has happened as a result of street drug use.The most publicized case regarding the tragic consequences of designer drugs use involved MPTP (1-methyl, 4-phenyl, 1, 2, 3, 6-tetra-hydropyridine), a substance that was later found to induce Parkinsonisms, or pathologies that cause Parkinson's-like symptoms such as tremors, balance problems, rigidity and slowed movement.

Are designer street drugs addictive?

Though designer drugs are made from legal ingredients, they can be addictive. In fact, designer drug products contain various amphetamine-like chemicals that, like cocaine, act as stimulants in the brain. Fortunately, designer street drug addiction can be treated.