Muir Wood therapist, David Laing

Synthetic Drug Abuse Reaches Crisis Point, Says EU

The European Union is experiencing a slowdown in the distribution and use of plant-derived drugs like marijuana and cocaine. While this may seem like good news, according to the EU’s Center for Drugs and Drug addiction, this decline is due to the growing popularity of chemically engineered, synthetic drugs and not a decreased rate of drug abuse in general.

The EU is currently tracking more than 280 of these synthetic drugs and the social and physical effects of the “legal high” they provide. More than 70 of these have appeared in the last year, and many are engineered to imitate the effects of marijuana. These drugs are extremely dangerous, and although many people infer that they they are safe because they are legal, many of them contain chemicals that are banned in the majority of the EU as well as here in the US. Just in Britain alone, the number of deaths caused by synthetic drug use has increased consistently over the last five years.

Rob Wainwright is the director of Europol, the EU police intelligence agency. He said, “The new drugs phenomenon is now recognized to be a global issue and a globalised market, which makes it particularly difficult to control.”

The majority of these synthetic drugs infiltrating the EU are coming from places where their manufacture is unregulated, like China and India. The manufacturers are using a range of new combinations of substances that have unknown side effects.

Here at Home

The United States is having just as big of a problem with synthetic drugs as the EU. They exploded onto the drug scene with the introduction of spice and bath salts. These two drugs in particular have proven to be deadly in some cases and often the cause of medical emergency. In 2011, there were more than 13,000 calls to US poison control centers due to the use of these substances.

The effects of synthetic drugs on the human body include:

  • Agitation
  • Nervousness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Tachycardia
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Tremors and seizures
  • Hallucinations

Address Synthetic Drug Use Proactively

If your son is dealing with addiction issues related to synthetic drugs, be aware that though they may be relatively easy for him to buy (e.g., online, at head shops, gas stations), their use is not safe.

If chronic drug abuse is problematic for your son, we can help. Our staff here at Muir Wood is highly trained to deal with the specific needs of boys struggling with substance abuse and in need of recovery assistance. Along with you, we can give your son the support he needs to get sober. Call now for more information.