Health & Safety

July 5, 2012

Synthetic designer drugs — are they here to stay?

By John Moore, Sr.,
ASAP Prevention Coordinator

Synthetic designer drugs — are they here to stay?

Yes, it seems they are!

Many have heard about the man-made drugs, Spice and Bath Salts, but how much do people really know about these relatively new synthetic products?

A designer drug is a psychoactive drug which is created or marketed to get around modifying the molecular structures of existing drugs to varying degrees.

Spice, or K-2, is known as synthetic cannabis or marijuana. It is marketed as an incense or “herbal smoking blend.” The herbs in Spice are laced with chemicals known as “synthetic cannabinoids.” The five most common chemical ingredients added to this herbal incense cause it to mimic marijuana is every way. The user will experience euphoria, bloodshot eyes, giddiness, silliness, short-term memory loss, paranoia, time distortion, panic attacks, impaired coordination and even the “munchies” (increased appetite). Sadly, the duration of the “high” or euphoria is anywhere between 8-12 hours. That’s a long time to be impaired.

The U.S. Army led the way in banning the use of Spice by Soldiers in 2010. On March 1, 2011, the Drug Enforcement Administration made Spice illegal nationwide, and placed the five synthetic cannabinoids into “Schedule I” of the Controlled Substances Act, right alongside PCP, Ecstasy, and marijuana. It is illegal for Soldiers to purchase, use or even possess Spice according to the March 22 Army News Service.

Are some Soldiers on Fort Huachuca using Spice? Yes! Can the command drug test for Spice? Yes! A Commander can contact the Army Criminal Investigation Division for more detailed information.

Another synthetic designer drug is marketed as “Bath Salts.” These are not the traditional bath salts used legitimately for water-softening or aroma therapeutic purposes. This designer drug is a central nervous system stimulant containing chemicals similar to cocaine, methamphetamine, and MDMA (Ecstasy) or LSD. Bath salts come in powder or crystal form and crumbles easily. Most commonly, it is snorted up the nose, but can also be injected into the blood stream, smoked like crack, or mixed with food or drink.

This dangerous drug causes the user to experience psychotic episodes and extreme paranoia. Some users have reported seeing demons, monsters, foreign soldiers or aliens. Others have experienced what is called “Excited Delirium.”

The symptoms of this brain disorder are bizarre and/or aggressive behavior, shouting, paranoia, panic, violence towards others, unexpected physical strength, and hyperthermia, which is why some users disrobe in an attempt to cool off.

Recently, ABC News reported a story about a naked man in Miami who ate off the face of a homeless man while under the influence of Bath Salts.

“The grisly assault on a homeless man whose face was eaten by a deranged assailant lasted for 18 agonizing minutes and was captured on nearby surveillance cameras. Rudy Eugene, who authorities suspect may have been high on a dangerous new street drug known as ‘bath salts,’ had to be shot four times by a police officer to halt the cannibalistic attack,” according to abcnews.go.com.

Further, a homeless man high on drugs and drunk on the alcoholic energy drink “Four Loco,” growled and tried to bite off a police officer’s hand after he was arrested for disturbing customers in a Miami fast food restaurant. In this new case, Brandon De Leon, repeatedly banged his head against the patrol car’s Plexiglas and yelled, “I’m going to eat you.” Cops placed restraints on De Leon and fit him with a Hannibal Lecter-style bite mask. This was reported by NBC Miami, NY Daily News, The Washington Post and other news sources.

Are some Soldiers on Fort Huachuca using Bath Salts? Yes! Can we drug test for Bath Salts? Yes! A commander can contact CID for more information.

The DEA recently commended Congress House and Senate negotiators for agreeing on legislation to control 26 synthetic drugs under the Controlled Substances Act. Spice (K2) and Bath Salts continue to be listed among these dangerous substances.

So, are synthetic designer drugs here to stay? Seemingly, they are!

 

Want more information? Contact the Fort Huachuca Army Substance Abuse Program team at 533.2071. There are also National Hotlines for Substance Abuse help and info:

 

1.800.821.4357 — Alcohol and Drug Helpline

1.800.622.2255 — National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence

1.800.442.HOPE (4673) — National Youth Crisis Hotline

1.800.234.0420 — Alcohol and Drug Abuse Helpline & Treatment

1.800.331.2900 — Alcohol Hotline Support & Information (Youth)

 




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