Addiction Synthetic Drugs

Spice: Your Synthetic Nightmare

Spice, K2, Cloud Nine, Potpourri: call it what you will, it’s all the same: a legal, synthetic, psychotropic drug lurking at the counters of your local liquor store.  Some use these drugs once and walk away, disillusioned by the multitude of negative effects. The addiction-prone continue, disregarding the negative nuances, anxious to get high.  Addiction is funny that way: the bad never seems bad enough to stop.

Recently, 20/20 did an exposé on bath salts, K2, and Spice, exposing the dangers and widespread concern amidst parents and law enforcement officials. Our medical director, Dr. David Lewis, addressed some of the risks related to these substances, telling 20/20: “If you take a developing brain and you put a tremendously psychoactive substance in the middle of that, that developing brain, what you really have is a chemistry experiment.” Dr. Lewis is all too familiar with the negative consequences manifesting in kids who have been using these drugs, and like parents, he also worries about the ease with which one can purchase K2 and Spice. Lewis says, “These people sell the drugs to our kids, no matter what the consequences are.” When 20/20 sent in hidden cameras with underage kids, the truth of this was caught on tape. The retailers are in it for the buck. Show them the money, and they’ll sell you the drugs, regardless of the 18-and-over age restriction.

Unfortunately, this rampant, devil-may-care attitude is substantiated by Dan Francis, the Executive Director of The Retail Compliance Association, who says, “a ban is dangerous” because it “sends it underground.” He even questions the government, saying,” What is wrong with euphoria and what gave them the right to regulate it?” Nothing is wrong with euphoria if it’s obtained through non-harming activities like completing a marathon, or a 2-hour Ashtanga yoga class. But that’s not what’s happening here—instead shops are selling a chemical recipe for disaster. We essentially have kids purchasing substances that have the capability of eliciting a desire to self-harm or increase the potentiality of suicidal ideation. It would be irresponsible if we ignored it.

Related articles:

Stores Fight Proposed Federal Ban on Spice, ‘Legal Marijuana’ (

Synthetic pot can cause psychosis that can last for months, research shows (

Teens Able to Purchase ‘Legal Pot,’ Despite Potentially Deadly Side Effects (


Bath Salts: Not For Your Average Soak

Either addicts are getting more creative or illicit drugs are being used to make run-of-the mill products, either way, the new drug being marketed under the moniker “bath salts” is disturbing at best. These “bath salts” are legally sold at head shops, convenience stores (I swear, they’ve gotten more and more risque with their last-minute “must-haves” sold at the counter!), and of course, on the street. Honestly, when I saw the news articles on this earlier this month, I thought it must be a farce. It’s not. In Michigan alone, at least 18 adults went to the ER after using this drug!

       {Image by LilyBaySoap via Flickr}

So, what are bath salts? Well, they aren’t the common salts you find in Bed, Bath, and Beyond, that’s for sure. Rather, these are marketed under names like “Ivory Wave,” “Aura,” “Zoom 2,” “Zeus 2,” “Cosmic Blast,” and “White Rush” and sold off the beaten path, no questions asked. These designer bath salts contain a synthetic chemical called Methylmethcathinone or Methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDVP). Essentially, what you get is a powerful high with a simultaneous period of psychosis, coupled with an insatiable craving for more.

“Bath salts” produce effects similar to Ritalin when taken in small doses or cocaine if taken in larger doses. The effects of this drug can cause an increase in heart rate, chest pains, dizziness, delusions, panic attacks, nose bleeds, and nausea. And then there’s the hallucinations, which are rumored to be terrifying. Not terrifying enough, though, because apparently the pull of the drug is such that the user clamors for more despite their negative experience while under its influence.
Being a new designer drug, all the physical warning signs aren’t known yet, but since it’s not dissimilar to amphetamine and hallucinogenic use, I would suggest keeping your eyes peeled for similar erratic behaviors such as paranoia, weight loss, dilated pupils, and of course, the ubiquitous small plastic baggies.

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