LSD, ecstasy, spice and ketamine are some of the substances known as designer drugs or club drugs. The two terms mean the same and are used loosely to refer to hallucinogens, stimulants and depressants that are produced in underground labs in the US or overseas and shipped into the country. The chemical formulas of many designer drugs are based on those of controlled substances such as opioids and cannabis. The effects of designer drugs are adverse because of a chemical alteration of their molecular structures during production. Some of the side effects of designer drugs include mood changes, addiction, psychotic behavior, seizures, hyperthermia and even heart failure.
Because of the chemical alteration of designer drugs, most of them slip through entry points without being detected by standard screening kits used by federal authorities. Designer drugs have been sold in convenience stores and even online with minimal controls. However, the availability of these drugs poses a serious threat to public health and wellness.
Like alcohol and prescription pain medication, designer drugs can also produce chemical dependence or addiction. The classic signs of addiction produced by designer drugs include physical tolerance to the drugs, craving for the substances, compulsive behavior and withdrawal symptoms when the drugs are absent.
Occasional recreational use may turn into addiction once a user becomes dependent on the high produced by the drug. Parents and guardians should be on the lookout for the signs of designer drug addiction and take necessary steps to prevent the adverse effects of the drugs including overdose and fatal accidents.
Signs of Designer Drug Addiction
Preventing designer drug abuse starts with knowing the signs of addiction. The signs of abuse of designer drugs can be quite similar with those of alcohol and street drugs. These signs include:
- Changes in behavior or personality
- Confusion or disorientation
- The user becomes financially irresponsible or starts to steal money
- Changes in hygiene
- Unexplained weight loss