New Designer Drugs – A High-Risk High

New Designer Drugs – A High-Risk High

Emergency room physicians around the nation are reporting a disturbing trend. Kids are showing up under the influence of a stimulant known popularly as “bath salts”. The young people are arriving at the hospital E.R. in states of agitation, violence and psychosis so extreme that often an entire team of health workers is required simply in order to restrain them.

In some cases, the symptoms persist despite significant dosages of sedation and the young person must be kept overnight on the psychiatric floor. Doctors who see all sorts of drug-related cases warn that “bath salts” are particularly dangerous and its effects appear to be long-lasting.

That “bath salts” are becoming more popular with young people is evident. In 2010, Poison Control received 303 calls relating to “bath salts”, while in the six months between January to June of 2011, the center fielded 3,470 such calls. One physician associated with the Poison Control center was reported as saying that “bath salts” deserve top billing on the laundry list of drugs you don’t want even to touch because of the way it messes a person up and does so for a long time.

So far 28 states have individually banned the drug. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is taking “bath salts” seriously enough that it invoked emergency powers to temporarily ban five of the chemicals which are used to make synthetic marijuana but which are also found in “bath salts”.

Molly, another popular designer drug, is the pseudonym for the most pure form of the amphetamine MDMA also known as Ecstasy. Ecstasy first became widely known in the 90s but seems to be experiencing resurgence in popularity as the party drug de jour. No studies have been made documenting its long range effects. As a result, young people are assuming that it is a safe drug.

Not only is MDMA not safe, but kids who think they are taking it may be getting other dangerous drugs as well. The ingredients which go into MDMA are frequently mixed together in toilet bowls and bathtubs where other substances such as ketamine, heroin and methamphetamine are added. Cases have been reported of young people who believed they were taking Molly testing positive for PCP.

Young people are seeking out drugs to provide feelings of invincibility, euphoria and empathy toward others. Often the quest for those feelings results in dependency. Popular drugs like Molly and “bath salts” lack sufficient long-term research, so that there is no way of knowing what today’s high will cost in terms of health and well-being tomorrow. However, it is a safe bet that given what physicians are seeing already, the prognosis is not good.

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