Fake Drugs, Real Risk

fake-drugs-real-riskFrom fake LSD to synthetic marijuana to bath salts, each year sees the arrival of new “designer” drugs—laboratory-created substances that simulate the effects of the originals while flying under the regulation radar. Their contents are often largely, if not completely, unknown and unfamiliar, making this class of drugs particularly hard to define and regulate. As a result, many remain legal despite their drug-like effects, addictive properties and risk.

As these drugs are fabricated to produce the effects of LSD or marijuana, without actually being LSD or marijuana, they naturally present themselves as a safer option. This is because the general public tends to believe that lab-created concoctions are somehow more scientific, better regulated and even more “medical.” Many drug users and occasional partakers mistakenly associate “fake” or “artificial” with “safer” or even “legal.”

Assumptions about Synthetic Drugs

These are, however, false assumptions. In truth, synthetic versions of drugs often carry an exponentially greater risk than their traditional counterparts for many reasons. First, designer drugs are a mixture of several different ingredients with no standard recipe. For example, bath salts from one source could vary drastically from bath salts obtained elsewhere. Because of this, the drugs and their effects are highly unpredictable and ingredient interactions are unknown. Overdose patients are an enigma to medical professionals as there is simply no way to know what has been ingested, or what kind of reaction it will cause in the body and mind of the user.

Secondly, while traditional LSD and marijuana are not recommended, there is a broader understanding among the medical and law enforcement communities, and within the general population, of how these drugs work and operate, and this general predictability makes the management of drug use and behavior possible. The traditional versions of these substances are known, have been tested and are regulated by law. Synthetic drugs, however, are mutations—each one different from another and nearly impossible to codify, regulate, manage or predict.

Third, while these drugs are intended to mimic their traditional counterparts, this does not mean they are entirely successful in doing so, nor does it mean there will not be drastic, unintended side effects. For example, synthetic marijuana may produce a pot-like high as a result of the cannabinoids contained in the mixture, but unlike traditional marijuana, the fake stuff can also result in psychosis, cardiac arrest and even death.

As these drugs come without a recipe or a roadmap for use, there is increased risk of overdose and fatality as users simply do not know how to use the unknown substances and are not prepared to deal with the grab bag of side effects unique to each mixture. Each use is a spin of the roulette wheel—it is impossible to gauge accurately what the outcome will be.

The Mind of an Addict

However, in the drug addict, denial, working constantly, convinces them that artificial or designer drugs are a better option, that there is a way to have one’s cake and eat it too. But this is the deceptive mind of the addict—always seeking a way to justify a fix, or to make it possible to keep using and continue getting that high. The addict will stop at nothing to avoid dealing with the pain, loneliness and other negative emotions and feelings, even if it means a dangerous substance with unknown effects.

If you are a Christian who struggles with an addiction to designer drugs like fake LSD or synthetic marijuana, understand that while the drug may be labeled “artificial,” the risk and the addiction are completely real. Christian drug rehabilitation can help.