The American Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has been fighting synthetic drug abuse since 2010 when the misuse of the manufactured drugs started.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 28,648 deaths occurred in 2014 due to synthetic drugs. These types of drugs are composed of man-made chemicals that affect the human brain directly and are often referred to as “designer drugs”. There are a version of an illegal drug such as marijuana or LSD but have been altered to passed as a legal drug.
There are currently many “designer drugs” in the market such as synthetic marijuana and “bath salts”. They began gaining popularity in 2010 and since then these synthetic drugs have been the cause of thousands of deaths in the country.
Authorities have had problems controlling these drugs in the market, while officials take the necessary time to determine these designed drugs, and it’s chemicals to make them illegal. Drug designers develop a new chemical that could passes as legal, making the process a repetitive cycle.
“For every substance we’ve controlled, legislatively or administratively, there are 11 more out there that are uncontrolled,” said Chuck Rosenberg the head of the DEA, to a U.S Senate committee
The vast majority of these drugs are sold in stores or on the internet, but marked as different products such as herbal incense, plant food, bath salts, herbal smoking blends, jewelry cleaner, among many others.
Most synthetic drugs in the country have similar effects that cocaine and methamphetamine have on the human body, yet there are synthetic opioids that are marketed as cheaper painkillers.
Users of these drugs are not aware of the ingredients and chemicals inside the product they buy and a great part of them have paid the price of consuming a man-made drug. The most common synthetic drug in the market is an opioid like fentanyl.
Synthetic drugs are considered a national threat
A judge determined recently that Fentanyl was the cause of death of international superstar Prince who passed away at is house a few months ago, and according to the DEA is now considered an “unprecedented” threat to the country.
Chuck Rosenberg also assured that fentanyl has had an alarming consumption increase in the American population. Around 11 million people in the country are currently consuming illegal painkillers for different purposes, increasing the number of overdoses as well.
The process of overdose is explained through prescription drugs, users start taking prescription drugs that cause addiction and start buying synthetic opioids for their cheaper prices. Prescription drugs tend to cost between $50 to $400.
Fighting the epidemic
Since the rates of deaths started to increase, organizations such as the DEA and the Obama administration have proposed several initiatives to control overdose rates.
A committee to decide the classification of these new types of drugs has been suggested by Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, assuring that the crisis is just as the Zika disease that has a lot of effort being put on to research.
The Obama administration asked the U.S congress in February of the current year for $1.1 billion to invest them in the national crisis for prescription, opioid, and heroin abuse.
The budget asked by the Obama administration aimed to ensure Americans could get all the treatment and help the needed, expanding medical help for opioid use disorder and expanding access to substance use treatment.
President Barack Obama proposed to make a two-year plan to reach results on the crisis case and help people affected by the crisis. Also an Obama administration spoker proposed to broaden the prosecutor’s ability to use city sales strategies as evidence for conviction, since there are many that assure they are not intended for human consumption.
Synthetic drugs sale strategies
Manufactured drugs such as synthetic marijuana, better known as Spice or K2, is sold as a mixture of herbs and different spices that have been sprayed with a chemical similar to marijuana’s THC. This offers users a “safe high” or a “legal high”.
The truth is that synthetic marijuana analysis have shown chemicals that cause toxic effects on the human body. Many of these drugs are sold in silver plastic bags as “potpourri” or as herbal incenses.
In 2014 a K2 product belonging to a Texas dealer was directly linked to 120 overdoses in Austin and Dallas. Fatal car accidents have also occurred under the effect of these manufactured chemicals.
In affected users, this chemicals can cause nausea and vomiting, heavy sweating, confusion, panic attacks, delusions, paranoia, seizures, strokes, high blood pressure, and even potential suicide.
Remains to be seen if authorities efforts will be able to stop the current synthetic drug crisis.