“Users don’t know what they are buying. Dealers don’t know what they are selling.”
During our June webinar about 2015 Emerging Drug Trends, renowned epidemiologist Jim Hall shed light on the dark world of synthetic drugs. According to Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, synthetic drugs are “substances chemically similar to and/or that mimic the drug-like effects of controlled substances.” The drugs impact the central nervous system and can have stimulant, depressant and/or hallucinogenic effects.
Jim receives his information about the latest drug trends from a variety of sources, including data from emergency phone calls to poison control centers, crime scene investigations and medical examiner reports. In the first four months of 2015, 1,900 exposure calls were received by poison control centers about synthetic marijuana, also known as cannabinoids.
Some of the effects of these “guinea pig” drugs include excited delirium, kidney failure, short and long-term psychosis, violent behavior. Remember the face-eating incident of 2012? We continue to hear about people running naked in the streets in an extreme state of paranoia, exhibiting violent and dangerous behavior. We’ve come a long way from “Leave It To Beaver,” folks!
According to Hall, synthetic drugs are being created faster than they can be regulated; use of them is on the rise; and most of the time, the users and dealers don’t really know what they are buying and selling.
How could they know? The majority of these drugs are made in secret, unregulated labs in China. And more drugs are being developed as we speak, likely with more addictive properties.
Volkow says “technological advances, market globalization, and the ubiquitous nature of the Internet is likely to generate a continuing flow of cheap psychoactive synthetic drugs for years to come.”
It is up to each of you to spread the word to loved ones so they are aware of the dangers of these drugs. The life you save may be that of your own child or a dear friend. Remember when life was simple and your parents said, “Don’t put anything into your mouth that you don’t know what it is”??? Well, that simple message is what you need to deliver today.