Police and physicians believe that a new substance, marketed as an alternative to mescaline or LSD, could very well be the most powerful and possibly, the most dangerous of the synthetic drugs that have come onto the market in recent years. After taking this synthetic hallucinogen known on the street as an “n-bomb,” a 19-year old from the West Valley in Phoenix was placed in a medically induced coma for four days. Physicians caring for the 19-year old suggest that if they had not responded when they did, chances are that the user would have died.
The 19-year old would not have been the first who passed away from the use of this new substance. In late January, an 18-year-old high school student passed away after taking the drug that he mistook for LSD. Eighteen-year-old Noah Carrasco lost consciousness almost immediately after ingesting the synthetic substance, a drug he took through nose drops. Those around him thought that Carrasco just needed to sleep it off or that some fresh air would clear him up eventually. However, when the people around him realized that something was wrong and brought him to the hospital – it was already too late.
Why These Drugs are so Dangerous
The reason that synthetic drugs are dangerous is because of the way the distributers market them. They market the product as synthetic ecstasy, cocaine, or marijuana. However, because of the chemical composition, there is no way to identify how the body is going to react after taking it. The makeup of these substances is changing constantly, always trying to avoid federal bans on specific substances and to make sure to be able to guarantee stronger versions of these popular substances.
This means that the user does not know what is going to happen with them when they use these dangerous drugs. Even if they have tried the substance before, with the same name, they may have a very different experience when they try it again. This can lead to overdoses and other problems, including mental problem, when the user experiences things that they were not expecting.
Secondly, it makes it difficult for law enforcement officials and medical personnel to treat the user if something does go wrong. If a long-term user comes in with an overdose on cocaine or heroin, the doctors have a specific protocol on how to deal with that type of problem. However, because they have no idea about the chemical composition of these drugs, the doctor really has no idea what he or she is trying to treat. This could lead to serious complications. It is unknown how to clean the blood of the substance causing the issues. Because there are constantly new products arriving on the synthetic drug market, it is impossible to do human testing on a method of recovery, mainly because any blood analysis is going to be outdated when the new formulas roll out.
Why These Substances are Still Available
What strikes many people as odd, is the fact that many of these synthetic drugs are still being sold legally. However, that is something many states are trying to combat. Just this April, Arizona signed into law that possessing one of the backbone chemicals in these illicit substances will be illegal. This not only makes it illegal to possess, but also makes the different variations illegal. However, when it comes to keeping up with the chemists making these substances, investigators are constantly chasing after the facts. This makes it difficult to identify and warn people about possibly lethal synthetic drugs that are still freely available.
What are Some Examples of These Substances?
In order for parents and guardians to be aware of the dangers, it is a good idea to learn a bit more about the different variations available. Because these drugs are relatively easy to obtain, it may be beneficial to know what sort of signs and names to look for. Bath salts and spice are two examples of designer drugs, continuously managing to avoid law enforcement restrictions because they claim uses for other than human consumption. Whereas spice is marketed as incense but actually mimics the effects of marijuana, bath salts are sold as insect repellant or plant food, but also produce a cocaine-like high.
What are the Effects?
There are different effects with different types of designer drugs. Some of these effects are wanted while others are unwanted. Depending on what the user ingests, it may lead to feelings of extreme relaxation, sleepiness, decreased appetite, prolonged periods of wakefulness, or exhilaration. The unwanted effects may include physical effects like blackouts, slurred speech, seizures, significant changes in blood pressure and nausea, but could also include feelings of paranoia, aggressive behavior, panic attacks and hallucinations.
Coming Back to the Original Story
The 19-year-old patient mentioned earlier, started suffering seizures shortly after taking the illicit substances at a party. The medically induced coma was necessary because physicians were not able to stop the seizures, mainly because they had no idea what they were trying to combat. As a result, the 19-year old spent four days in a medically induced coma with doctors bringing him out of it constantly after trying a battery of different medications. However, each time the seizures would continue and he would have to be put under again. After the fifth day, the hallucinations and agitation started to subside. The next day, almost a week after he was brought in, the hospital released the patient.
It is important to educate young Americans that these substances are perhaps even more dangerous than the drugs that they try to mimic. These substances come from halfway across the world, made in a lab that has no quality control and the ingredients and chemical composition of these designer drugs are constantly changing. While there are clear dangers in the use of these substances, the number of users has drastically increased in the last few years, increasing the need for additional awareness.