Designer Drug Treatment Programs
Unlike the phrase street drugs, designer drugs sound almost upmarket and classy. After all, most things with the word designer in sound exclusive, and in a way, designer drugs are. However, designer drug rehab programs have gradually become more and more popular, and there’s a reason for this: designer drugs have almost exactly the same issues as traditional drugs.
What Is a Designer Drug?
Originally, most drugs were derived from plants and the like, but as chemistry became more sophisticated and people actually started to realize how drugs interacted with the human body, synthetic drugs became popular. Originally, many of these were analogs of morphine, thebaine, and other chemicals found in opium, along with a few simple stimulants like amphetamine and methamphetamine. The FDA started to crack down on many drugs with the introduction of the Controlled Substances Act in 1970. However, a curious point of law arose: only drugs that were specifically mentioned could be banned. This meant that the law was always around two to five years behind the drug manufacturers.
Backstreet labs started to make drugs that worked in a similar way—designer drugs—and explored drugs that were technically legal. Once a drug was banned, they found new drugs that were similar. This was a race for profit. Legal drugs could be sold anywhere and openly and didn’t invite huge fines and jail time—until they were banned. The industry became huge, and drugs started to be produced by reputable labs. While by this time the law had banned drugs that were structurally identical but had an extra bit tacked on, known as analogs, it couldn’t automatically ban a drug because it made people high.
Examples of Modern Designer Drugs
Perhaps one of the most well-known designer drugs is Spice. Spice is marketed as synthetic cannabis, and it’s essentially a drug that mimics THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. It’s now seen as a generic term, one that covers a huge range of compounds, both legal and illegal. From the drug’s discovery in 2004, the FDA took eight years to ban it.
Because it was sold as herbal essence, there were no restrictions on its marketing, provided it never directly claimed it was for human consumption. This meant that plenty of people quickly discovered they could have the euphoria of marijuana without the risk of being busted under tough antidrug laws.
The same concept applies to bath salts, otherwise known as meow meow or cat. Labs realized that the plant khat was very popular with those from Yemen, and they noted it contained chemicals called cathinones. These produce a stimulant-like effect, but khat was banned in 1993. Synthetic versions of these drugs hit the street in 2009, with mephedrone being the most well known. Like Spice, they were sold openly, and because they were stimulants, they were often sold in gas stations.
Unfortunately, they had serious side effects, and the long-term effects are as yet unknown. Because of the media frenzy surrounding bath salts, cathinones were generally banned in 2012, although most states had banned them by 2011.
What Are the Dangers of Designer Drugs?
One thing that is good about designer drugs is that they’re often fairly high-quality batches with relatively few impurities compared to traditional backstreet labs, thanks to their manufacturing processes.
The biggest problem with designer drugs is that they’re new, and designer drug rehab centers have to be very careful. Heroin withdrawal, for example, is well documented, and its effects have been extensively reported in literature. Mephedrone withdrawal, on the other hand, is relatively unknown, so its effects are equally as unknown.
It’s also unclear how these drugs will interact with other drugs. Therefore doctors have to be very careful with regard to what they prescribe. A dual diagnosis makes life even harder, as unintended reactions caused by the combination of drugs can cause life-threatening reactions.
One thing that is good about designer drugs is that they’re often fairly high-quality batches with relatively few impurities compared to traditional backstreet labs, thanks to their manufacturing processes. In addition, the doses tend to be fairly consistent across brands—after all, if you put too much in, you’re losing profit. That said, quality control standards may not be consistent, and many drugs are produced in areas of the world where quality control is a cost and is often ignored. It is, as with many drugs, something of a lottery.
Some designer drugs have been appearing that are not even mentioned in the scientific literature. This means they are completely unknown, and their side effects are equally as unknown. Once their chemical structure has been worked out, a best guess can be made as to their properties and their likely interactions, but that remains a best guess. No one really knows until it goes inside a life form, and it’s unlikely animal studies were used to gauge its effects.
Who Can Help?
Designer drug programs typically look at the types of drugs used and aim to work out what the best method of treatment is. Because designer drugs are often new and their effects completely unknown, doctors often have to be very flexible as to the treatment process. Typically, a synthetic drug treatment program consists of four stages:
This is, of course, overly simplified, but it’s the same as any other addiction therapy. The main difference will be the drugs prescribed. Typically, a designer drug treatment program will be quite sparse on the drugs prescribed as it’s uncertain as to how different drugs will interact. In addition, there will be a little more risk involved, but if something does go wrong in a clinic, you’ve got staff nearby. If something goes wrong in the normal world, you’re more or less on your own.
Designer drugs don’t have to be a crutch. Designer drug rehab programs can get you back on track with your life and help you restore broken relationships. It’s quite literally the investment of a lifetime—and its effects will last for a lifetime.
Insurance Providers with Treatment Coverage
- Blue Cross Blue Shield
- Kaiser Permanente
- United Health Group
Let’s verify your coverage for treatment at an American Addiction Centers location. Your information is always confidential.
So give us a call today and see how we can help. It doesn’t matter if you’re calling for yourself or for a loved one—the important thing is to get the assistance you need.To get help, simply pick up the phone and dial 1-888-851-2649 Who Answers? . We are standing by 24/7 to speak with you.