What are the effects of synthetic drugs?

These man-made substances have varying chemical compositions and can produce a variety of side effects. The most common synthetic drugs are bath salts and spice (synthetic marijuana). So, what are the effects of synthetic drugs?

According to the 2014 Monitoring the Future Survey, three percent of eighth graders said they have tried synthetic marijuana in the last year. Almost 6 percent of 12th graders said they have tried synthetic marijuana in the last year.

Synthetic drugs prompt a large release of dopamine — the brain’s “feel-good” neutrotransmitter. Bath salts raise the levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is thought to be responsible for causing hallucinations. Those are facts, but what are the effects of synthetic drugs?

Short-term effects of bath salts can include:

  • Increased alertness and awareness
  • Elevated heart rate and blood pressure
  • Increased respiration
  • Feelings of euphoria
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Violent outbursts
  • Panic attacks
  • Addiction

Short-term effects of spice use can include:

  • Altered perception
  • Extreme anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Increased heart rate
  • Vomiting
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Addiction

HOW TO GET HELP

If you, or someone you know, has a problem with bath salts or spice, talk to a trusted adult. Seek out local substance abuse treatment centers in your area for further help. A physician or a counselor should be able to assist you in finding treatment centers.

  • You can also seek out local self-help groups such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA). To find out more information about NA’s services, visit https://www.na.org/.
  • Call Centerstone at 1-888-291-4357 (HELP) to schedule an appointment with a therapist.
  • If you feel like you need immediate help, please call 1-800-681-7444 for 24-hour Crisis Services.