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Synthetic Drugs | Clearbrook Treatment CentersSynthetic drugs that are marketed as safe or legal alternatives to common illegal drugs are on the rise in the US.  Unlike drugs made from organic materials found in nature, synthetic versions are made up entirely of man-made chemicals. Many people are unaware that most of these synthetic drugs exist, and how deadly they can be.  Unfortunately for buyers, these chemical alternatives are manufactured with little to no regulations overseas.  This causes issues with quality and consistency, which can have fatal consequences.  The following synthetic drugs have seen a sharp increase in use in recent years.


Before being banned by the DEA in 2013, synthetic cannabinoids were seen as a safe and legal alternative to marijuana.  Produced without much regulation in small laboratories in China and Russia, Spice or K2, as it is commonly known, is anything but safe.  It is made by combining a mix of chopped herbs and plant material, with the active chemical ingredients sprayed on.  It is also available in a liquid form for use with vape pens.  It is relatively easy to purchase on the street, or even online under one of more than five hundred names.  It affects the brain receptors in a different way than natural marijuana, and the effects are much different and much longer lasting.

Synthetic cannabinoids are also highly addictive, and regular users may experience withdrawal symptoms.  Side effects include severe anxiety and paranoia, vomiting, seizures, blurred vision, heart attack and psychosis. In one high profile case, NFL fullback Derrick Coleman admitted to smoking synthetic marijuana before a hit and run car accident.  Since its ban in the United States, manufacturers have been quick to create new chemical compounds in order to sidestep regulations.  To read more about synthetic cannabinoids, visit


251-NBOMe, or more commonly known as NBOMe, is said to mimic the effects of LSD. There are, however, significant and possibly deadly side effects.  The drug is highly toxic; an amount equivalent to just a few grains of salt is enough to cause an overdose.  Side effects range from aggression and delirium to seizures and coma.  Easily purchased online, use of this synthetic drug has seen a sharp increase in recent years.  It is most commonly sold on blotter papers resembling LSD, but the cost is much less, making it an attractive alternative to some.

In Australia, two students died after the boys took the drug and tried to fly off of a balcony, and in Texas a 16-year-old student was in a coma for over a week after taking NBOMe at a party.   So how are teens and young adults getting this drug so easily?  The chemicals necessary to make the drug, as well as the drug itself are easily available online.  Also, the cost is relatively cheap, which makes it an attractive choice for high school and college students.  Many buyers on the street are unaware that what they are purchasing is not LSD, but another type of hallucinogen, and is potentially mixed with a number of chemicals.  This makes it potentially fatal from the very first dose.  To read one student’s story, go to


A synthetic cathinone known as Flakka, is a stimulant that is marketed as a much cheaper, and safer alternative to cocaine. Closely related to bath salts, it has seen an increase of use on college campuses nationwide, and can be bought online for as little as $3 per dose.  In fact, with just a few clicks I was able to find a website where after creating a profile, I could actually buy it under the pharmaceutical name a-Pyrrolidinopentiophenone, or a-PVP.  a-PVP has been making headlines since 2012.  Earlier this year a college student was found growling and biting the flesh off of a man’s face after stabbing him and his wife to death.  It took several officers, a dog, and a Taser to pry the suspect away.

There have been multiple cannibalistic cases involving Flakka, and authorities have been warning the public of these dangers.  Synthetic cathinones are highly addictive synthetic drugs, and psychosis is just one of the side effects.  Flakka produces feeling of euphoria and causes the user to feel more focused and stimulated, much like cocaine, however the effects wear off more quickly.  The more someone uses the drug, the more they experience the negative effects, including hallucinations, paranoia, panic attacks, depression, and increased strength. Used long term, it can also lead to kidney damage, heart failure, and death.  If you’d like to read more, visit


Synthetic opioids, such as U-47700, have caused what is called by many, a national crisis.  Manufactured in China and smuggled into the country through Mexico and online channels, synthetic opioids have been blamed in an increasing number of deaths worldwide.  According to the CDC, since 2013 there has been an increase in the number of deaths from fentanyl (a chemically similar synthetic opioid) and other synthetic derivatives of fentanyl by almost 80%. With an extremely high potency, it is used on the street to cut heroin, and therefore increase profits for dealers. These synthetic drugs are also sold as pills to buyers looking to purchase oxycodone.  In many instances, buyers and dealers are ignorant to what they are really purchasing.  Side effects can include nausea and vomiting, hallucinations, sweating, and itchy skin.  Because of how the drug reacts with the receptors in the brain, muscle spasms, seizures and respiratory arrest may occur.

It is highly addictive and withdrawal effects can be serious. Once addicted to synthetic opioids, it can be extremely difficult to detox from without proper treatment.  With more recent deaths in Kansas and Utah, states are racing to ban U-47700 before the situation worsens.   To read more, go to

As you can see, the increase in use of synthetic drugs is an alarming trend.  While many people think that it takes regular, long-term use to become addicted, that is not the case.  Many of these potent new drugs can be highly addictive after just one or two uses.  Drug addiction is a serious disease, and needs proper medical treatment.

Contact Clearbrook For Synthetic Drug Treatment

If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction to synthetic drugs, get help today! Synthetic drugs have proven time and time again to be highly addictive and have life-threatening side-effects. Although manufactures want you to believe synthetic drugs are the safer alternative to more popular and illicit drugs, such as cocaine and heroin, that is simply not the case.

For more than 40 years, Clearbrook Treatment Centers has been providing effective drug and alcohol treatment to those afflicted with the disease. If you or your loved one is ready for a change, contact our Admissions Specialists today. We are available 24 hours a day.




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