Synthetic Drugs – What Are They?

Spice, bath salts, K2, herbal incense, potpourri…

Along with legal prescription drugs, synthetic drugs are often mistakenly viewed by teens as safe because they are not prohibited by law. They appear on gas station counters and in head shops, giving the impression they are legal, danger-free alternatives to better-known drugs like marijuana, LSD and other psychoactive drugs. Law enforcement is scrambling to devise an effective response to these products, but they can’t keep up with the changes.

These drugs contain chemicals that travel through the bloodstream to the brain, triggering forms of hallucinations such as false smells and tastes, moods and other forms of altered consciousness. Money-hungry companies looking to cash in on the addiction of drug users without technically breaking the law came up with a way to artificially combine chemicals that would have the same effect as illegal drugs. In some ways these are more dangerous than the drugs they copy. In one case, users of a newly designed and unstudied synthetic drug developed lifelong symptoms similar to those of Parkinson’s disease after just one dose!

How to protect your child:
* Check the browser history to see what sites your child has been visiting.
* Keep track of all credit card purchases and bank statements.
* Keep a lookout for packages you didn’t order. Look for shipping labels that are intentionally misleading.
* Look for white powder or ash residue in your child’s room or car.
* Watch for extreme changes in behavior. A sudden change in friends, increased secrecy or asking for money more than usual are some tell-tale signs of substance abuse.

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