New Designer Drug 25C-NBOMe Is Killing Teens
Designer drugs are those that are manufactured synthetically in labs across the country and around the world to meet the demand for a new high. These are substances that often mimic natural ones. For example, the synthetic marijuana that has been in the news off and on for the last several years is a designer drug that will not go away.
Legislators and policy makers attempt to ban these substances, but as soon as they do, the drug makers create something new. They tweak the drug just a little bit, and suddenly it becomes a new substance with new properties. Law enforcement and lawmakers are struggling to keep up with the drug makers and the teens using these substances to chase a high. The latest designer drug has recently been found in Texas, where it has killed yet another teenager.
The Problem with Designer Drugs
The problem with drugs seems obvious at first. People use them to get a high. The drugs cause health problems. They lead to addiction. Greater use increases the health problems, sometimes causing severe issues. Sometimes, overdose and death are the final result. This series of events occurs with all kinds of drugs, both legal and illicit. Illegal drugs like heroin, crack, and cocaine take people down this terrible road all too often, but so do prescription narcotics, like painkillers.
Designer drugs do the same thing, but there are even more dangers and risks associated with them. As dangerous as heroin, oxycodone, or crack are, their chemical structures and effects on the human body are well understood. Designer drugs are constantly changing. As the drugs change, so do the consequences for users. No one knows exactly what they are consuming when they take a new designer drug, and that includes emergency room staff trying to treat a teen that has overdosed.
Another problem with designer drugs is that they are often more readily available to teens than other substances. A typical suburban teen may not know where to get heroin or cocaine, but he can go online and order any number of designer drugs.
The name for the latest designer drug to have a devastating impact is not very descriptive. The Texas Department of Public Safety recently identified a substance responsible for killing a 16-year-old high school student in Fredericksburg, Texas, as 25C-NBOMe. He died using this substance, which is a synthetic hallucinogenic drug. He bought it online.
25C-NBOMe is a synthetic drug designed to mimic the effects of natural hallucinogenic compounds. These are compounds found in certain plants and fungi that cause delusions and hallucinations. It is based on a compound called phenethylamine, which is common in plants and animals. It is even in chocolate. By itself, this compound is not harmful. Designer drug makers have taken this compound with mild psychoactive effects and changed it to create more potent drugs.
The young man who died from taking 25C-NBOMe and his friend who also used the substance were treated by emergency workers. Their behaviors before the young man died included loud and disruptive outbursts, disorientation, and aggressiveness. The Texas Department of Public Safety investigated the drug and labeled it, but had not seen it before. They have seen similar hallucinogenic designer drugs, but the manufacturers are clearly changing the formula to make new varieties.
The state of Texas, and other states as well, are trying to combat the issue of new designer drugs with legislation. Republican state Sen. Joan Huffman of Houston is the author of a bill that is pending in the state legislature. She hopes that the new law, if passed, will help law enforcement cope with the changing nature of new, synthetic drugs.
Currently, laws are passed to ban each new drug as it comes to light. The pace of passing these bans cannot keep up with the changing nature of designer drug-making. The new bill will hopefully allow law enforcement to get around that difficulty and target new substances.
Designer drugs are a recent problem and one that has been tough to combat. While law enforcement agencies and legislators struggle to keep up with changing drugs, drug makers continue to market their products to teens. The result is that teens are dying, even after making just one bad choice.