Designer drugs are man-made or synthetic drugs. They are chemical compounds created in a laboratory and sold on the street to users looking for intense or specific kinds of “highs.” They are sold under a slew of names, making them hard for parents to keep track of. Anti-drug agencies report that teens and young people who use designer drugs are far more likely to use multiple drugs over their lifetimes.
A survey on drug use and health issued by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that young people who use one kind of designer drug often use another as well. For the survey, people 16 to 23 years were asked about their drug use. Among the respondents, 20 percent said that they had used at least one of the following man-made designer drugs:
- MDMA – This drug is commonly referred to as Molly or Ecstasy. It is a stimulant drug, often called a club drug because it is popular among young people who frequent dance clubs.
- Methamphetamine – Frequently referred to as “meth,” ice or crystal, the drug is a stimulant. It is highly addictive and the addiction is very difficult to break.
- GHB – The actual name of this drug is Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate. It is a depressant that is normally used to treat narcolepsy (falling asleep) or cataplexy (poor muscle control).
- LSD – A popular drug in the 1960s, LSD stands for Lysergic Acid Diethylamide. It is sometimes called doses, acid or sugar cubes. LSD is a psychedelic/ hallucinogenic drug that can cause surreal sensations that sometimes lead to panic. Flashbacks from the drug can continue long after use ceases.
- Flunitrazepam – This depressant/sedative is often sold under the brand name Rohypnol, though not in the U.S. where it is illegal even with a prescription. Sometimes called the date rape drug, it is an odorless, tasteless pill that easily dissolves in beverages. In addition to being used to take sexual advantage of others, the drug is used to enhance the high of other drugs (like heroin) or soften the landing from other highs (like cocaine).
Of those surveyed who had used at least one of the above designer drugs, 17 percent said they had also used a second drug and more than 80 percent reported having used at least three illicit drugs. Those who admitted using methamphetamine, flunitrazepam, ketamine or GHB were more apt than others to be multiple drug users (96 -100 percent confessed to using multiple drugs).
Designer drugs are serious substances that can cause addiction and put users at incredible personal risk. Just one of those risks is the risk of becoming a multiple drug user.