Designer drugs are drugs created by changing the chemical structure of a pre-existing drug often bought for recreational uses. Because there are no laws against these newly synthesized drugs, many designer drugs are considered legal—until law enforcement catches up. Over the years, certain designer drugs have have grown in popularity and now rank among the most commonly abused drugs in the nation.
Most Common Designer Drugs
Ecstasy: “The Love Pill”
Ecstasy is by far the most famous designer drugs— as well as the prototype of all club drugs. Ecstasy is especially popular among youth who use them at parties and concerts.
Although it ranks just 2nd in the number of emergency department visits, the National Survey on Drug Abuse shows it is more prevalently abused than other designer drugs.
Also called MDMA, ecstasy is an analog of methamphetamine and has similar effects to meth. Ecstasy produces feelings of alertness and increased energy as well as euphoria and feelings of closeness for those around you. However, most the pills sold on the street as Ecstasy does not contain pure ecstasy, which makes its effects unpredictable and dangerous. Sometimes, the dangerous part of MDMA is that you think you’re taking ecstasy, but you really don’t know what’s all been mixed in with the pill.
Emergency visits in 2009: 22, 816
PCP: “Angel’s Dust”
PCP is a dissociative. Its analogs include TCP, PCE, PCPY, PCC, and ketamine. PCP ranks the highest number of emergency department visits according to the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) in 2009.
It affects a chemical in the brain that controls emotions, memory, and pleasure. Therefore, its effects are notoriously unpredictable, but low doses are comparable to the effect of alcohol intoxication, and high doses with delusions, paranoia and hallucinations. PCP comes in a white powder which is often mixed with leafy material such as mint, tobacco or marijuana and smoked.
Emergency visits in 2009: 36,719
LSD is one of the most powerful hallucinogens in the world. It is sold on the streets in small tablets, capsules, or blotting paper (“window panes”).
The mood-altering effects of LSD are unpredictable, ranging from a spaced-out “bliss” –which users often mistake for enlightenment—with visual disturbances to feelings of intense terror. The LSD experience is sometimes called a “trip,” which can last up to 12 hours. Users also develop tolerance on LSD, which increases both the physical effects and the risk of flashbacks or a “bad trip.”
Emergency visits in 2009: 4,028
GHB: “Liquid Ecstasy”
GHB and its analogs are both common club drugs and date rape drugs. The designer analogs of GHB are substances known as GBL and BD. GBL and GB have a different chemical structure than GHB, but turn into GHB as they are broken down in the body.
Because it is a depressant, GHB can cause euphoria, drowsiness, and loss of consciousness. Since it is odorless, colorless, and tasteless, the drug can be easily slipped into drinks to sedate and incapacitate victims.
Emergency visits in 2009: 1,758
Ketamine: “Special K”
The properties of Ketamine can be listed under many classes—a date rape drug, a depressant, analgesic, and hallucinogenic. It is a derivative of PCP, but its effects are of a lower intensity and shorter duration than that of PCP.
However, Ketamine is most well-known for its dissociative properties, or “out -of-body” experiences or “euphoric disconnectedness.” These feelings of memory loss and sensory distortion make it a popular date rape drug.
Emergency visits in 2009: 529
Are You Looking for Help With Your Designer Drug Addiction?
Consider Duffy’s in Napa Valley for your drug & Alcohol rehab services. Our staff is ready to help you with whatever you need.