Designer drugs

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Date: Feb. 1, 2012
Publisher: McKesson Health Solutions LLC
Document Type: Brief article
Length: 403 words

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What are designer drugs?

Designer drugs are man-made versions of drugs based on another drug. They are also known as "club drugs" because they are often used in dance clubs or raves. Amateur chemists take an existing drug and change its chemical structure.

There are many types of designer drugs. They can be stimulants such as methamphetamine, painkillers such as fentanyl, or hallucinogenics such as PCP. These are the 3 drugs that serve as the basis for most designer drugs.

Designer drugs may be 1,000 times stronger than heroin, and 200 times stronger than morphine. Designer drugs are known by street names such as XTC, Ecstasy, Adam, Eve, GHB, Special K, or Fantasy.

Are designer drugs dangerous?

These drugs are very dangerous. Harmful chemicals may be added to, or used in place of, the original drug. It is likely that no 2 doses of any designer drug are the same. They change from batch to batch and from chemist to chemist. The possible side effects are totally unpredictable.

Designer drugs are often addictive. They may be injected, taken by mouth, smoked, or snorted. Some of them come as clear, tasteless liquids or can be easily dissolved in drinks. In general, physical symptoms may include:

* blurred vision

* chills and sweating

* clenched teeth

* dehydration

* drooling

* increased heart rate

* loss of appetite

* muscle cramps

* nausea and vomiting

* paralysis

* seizures

* trouble breathing

* trouble talking

* uncontrolled shaking

Mental and emotional effects may include:

* loss of memory

* confusion

* depression

* extreme emotional sensitivity

* seeing or hearing things that are not there

* irrational thinking

* irritability

* severe anxiety

* violent behavior

Withdrawal symptoms may include:

* drowsiness

* irritability

* nervousness Can designer drugs be used safely?

The only way to stay safe is not to use designer drugs. It is hard to know the strength of a drug or if it has been cut with other chemicals. Unintentional overdoses are common. Mixing drugs, including alcohol, increases the risk of overdose or death. Boosting (taking more while high) is even riskier.

These drugs can affect your ability to recognize danger or make smart decisions. Driving a vehicle when high on drugs is always dangerous.

For more information, call the National Council of Alcoholism and Drug Dependence at 800-622-2255.

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Published by RelayHealth.

Last modified: 2009-10-29

Last reviewed: 2010-04-26

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Source Citation   (MLA 8th Edition)
"Designer drugs." RelayClinical Education, vol. 2012, RelayHealth, 2012. Gale Health and Wellness, https%3A%2F%2Flink.gale.com%2Fapps%2Fdoc%2FA281566320%2FHWRC%3Fu%3Dmnkanokahs%26sid%3DHWRC%26xid%3D4828fa33. Accessed 14 Dec. 2019.

Gale Document Number: GALE|A281566320