Unlike designer clothes, designer drugs are easy to obtain and inexpensive. Referred to as designer drugs because they’re created in labs, not because they’re upscale, these synthetic drugs are not regulated and are often laced with dangerous chemicals. In recent years, designer drugs have become more of a problem thanks to drugs that aren’t regulated because they’re sold as bath salts or incense and are labeled as "not for human consumption." Older synthetic drugs such as Ecstasy and Methamphetamine have recently given way to drugs that can be purchased legally in convenience stores and gas stations in many states.
It’s impossible to know exactly what chemicals are in drugs like bath salts and synthetic marijuana products, sometimes referred to as incense or spice. It’s also impossible to know the potency or how relatively safe a dose might be. According to drugabuse.gov, these unknown mixtures can cause dangerous side effects, such as seizures, memory loss, coma and even death.
How can drugs be legal? These substances are sold legally as incense, cleaning products or bath products, allowing teens to easily skirt the law. A popular “incense” called Jazz recently contributed to a teen’s death in Safety Harbor, Florida. 19-year-old Logan Kushner drowned after smoking the incense and swimming. Jazz can cause side effects like hallucination and dizziness.
Bath salts, marketed under many names, is an amphetamine-like chemical that may have long term side effects similar to meth, making it a highly dangerous yet not always illegal substance. It has the potential to cause overdose, severe hallucinations, and even death. Over the past few years, emergency rooms have seen an upswing of patients suffering intense side effects from snorting these so-called “bath salts.”
Because these drugs are created in labs, they can be changed easily to avoid government bans on certain chemical formulations. This also makes it difficult for drug tests to accurately detect these drugs in the body. The combination is creating a dangerous situation ripe for substance abuse, overdose and accidental death due to intoxication from designer drugs. This presents additional danger in cases of overdose, because hospitals aren’t always aware of the specific toxicology in the synthetic drugs, making it difficult to diagnose and treat overdose appropriately.