Nearly 23 Million people are in need of treatment for chemical dependency.

75% of most designer drugs are consumed by adolescents and younger adults.

Some designer drugs have risen by 80% within a single year.

Designer Drugs

What are Designer Drugs?

MMade in crude labs, the term Designer Drug refers to a range of synthetic legal and illegal substances. They are new types of drugs that are sweeping across the world and it’s having deadly consequences. Entirely synthetic and produced by the users who abuse them, these drugs mimic the effects of Cocaine, Ecstasy and Marijuana. Yet when people take them they can face dire consequences because they are made of impurities and toxic chemicals. Not to be confused with prescription drugs, they’re not produced under strict standards for the purposes of medical use. These Designer Drugs can result in liver and kidney damage, psychotic behavior and even death. Some common names are: bath salts, pool cleaner, plant food or potpourri.

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Detoxification for Designer Drugs

Detoxification for Designer Drugs

Due to the withdrawal symptoms of many of these Designer Drugs, medically assisted detox is advised to make sure the addicted person has a safe detoxing process. Medical Detox works to reduce discomfort and monitor patient vital signs. Often times these drugs can affect brain function and detoxing from a drug that the brain has become dependent on can cause serious problems like seizures. In detox, patients are assessed for their overall treatment plan for the remainder of their recovery, and if they are addicted to more than one Designer Drug, it will affect their overall treatment plan. Other factors are taken into account as well, like mental health and physical health issues, genetics and sensitivity to substances.
Rehab for Designer Drugs

Rehab for Designer Drugs

The nature of a Designer Drug makes it extremely dangerous because they are unregulated and filled with chemical impurities. They have unknown and potentially unsafe ingredients, unknown side effects, and varying potency makes designer drug difficult predict. For individuals who suffer from addiction to these drugs, help can be found at a rehab facility. Since designer drugs are made from various toxic substances, the treatment program will need to be tailored for each individual person. There are a variety of rehabilitation programs available to meet the individual needs of those struggling with designer drug addictions. The best results are usually found through an out-of-state inpatient program.

The Dangers of Designer Drug Abuse

Designer Drugs are just as potent as the mainstream drugs such as Crystal Meth, Cocaine and Heroin. The difference is that the drugs are made by producing chemicals that mimic the composition of the mainstream drugs in order to produce similar or even enhanced effects on the mind and body. Another purpose of tweaking the age old formulas of common street drugs is to skirt the laws and legality of drug classifications. The DEA can make a chemical compound illegal however designers simply change the compound ever so slightly to make a drug that is not yet illegal.

These ever-changing chemical compounds are extremely dangerous as they are not researched or tested and the effects seem to be getting worse as time goes on. Although this game of cat-and-mouse between Designer Drug makers and the DEA seems never ending, the DEA has found ways to stop these drugs from ever being legal. The Designer’s however can still produce these drugs and use the grey area of their legality as a way to reduce their sentence if caught.


Effects of Designer Drugs

Designer Drug users experience paranoia, agitation, and hallucinatory delirium; some even display psychotic and violent behavior, and in many cases abusers can be suicidal. Suicidal thinking or behavior may last even after the high effects of the drugs have worn off. The severe psychological effects of this classification of drug is alarming and to be taken serious. It only takes one use.

Short-Term Effects

Short-term effects of Designer Drugs are primarily the reason people take them. Most abusers want an instant high, and because many Designer Drugs have a high that doesn’t last very long, they repeat the use to continue the high, which can lead to overdose. Short-term effects can include sweating, nausea, paranoia, cravings and hallucinations.

Long-Term Effects of Designer Drug Abuse

Long-term use of Designer Drugs varies depending on the drugs. Many Designer Drugs have long-term effects on the internal organs and the brain. Prolonged Meth use can cause brain activity to shrink down to the core memory center of the brain, where it impacts prioritizing and makes memory of pleasure from Meth use dominant, which promotes even more Meth abuse. Long-term effects of Designer Drug use can result in damaged nasal cavity, seizure, coma and even death.



What Are the Various Designer Drugs?

Here is a partial list of the main Designer Drugs: Bath Salts, Meth, Ecstasy, Flakka, GHB, K2 Spice, Krokodil.

What is Krokodil and How Does it Work?

Krokodil was first developed or invented in Russia, when Heroin was mixed with chemicals to make it less expensive and more available. The danger of Krokodil is that if it is injected into a muscle and not a vein, it destroys the muscle and skin, and can make them fall right off of bones. The results look like crocodile skin.

Are Synthetic Cannabinoids the Same as Marijuana?

No. These compounds do mimic the effects of THC, but Synthetic Cannabinoids are not Marijuana. They’re not an organic plant like Marijuana. Synthetic Cannabinoids can produce even more concentrated levels of toxins that are like THC. It is estimated that synthetic cannabinoids can be as much as 50x more potent than the THC found in Marijuana.

Are Synthetic Drugs and Designer Drugs the Same Thing?

Yes, Synthetic and Designer Drugs are essentially the same thing. They are substances chemically produced in a laboratory and designed to mimic the effects of natural drugs.

Are Designer Drugs New?

Designer Drugs are not new. However, in the past five years, they have rapidly grown as a new drug threat. As one Designer Drug is identified, multiple others are being synthesized and marketed. Stealthy drug manufacturers continuously change the chemical makeup of Designer Drugs to stay ahead of DEA regulations and detection.



Learn more about Designer Drugs with our infographics.

Designer Drug Withdrawal Symptoms

Designer Drug Withdrawal Symptoms

As Designer Drugs represent an entire array of synthetic drugs with various effects, the withdrawal symptoms depend on the specific drug. The withdrawal symptoms coincide with the drug they are mimicking. For example, Synthetic Cannabinoids have similar withdrawal symptoms as Marijuana; paranoia, sweating, agitation, increased appetite, etc. Other reported withdrawal symptoms from Designer Drugs include: anxiety, nausea, vomiting, tachycardia (fast, racing heartbeat), elevated blood pressure, tremors, seizures and hallucinations.

Dangers of Designer Drugs Overdose

Dangers of Designer Drugs Overdose

The nature of Designer Drugs is so unpredictable because they are synthetically created and altered in labs, their effects can be equally unpredictable. This is why it’s best to avoid Designer Drugs completely because they are so unpredictable. Even if the Designer Drugs were chemically designed at the proper levels, or cooked by the right recipe, the drug itself is extremely dangerous and someone sensitive to that particular drug could die from a single use. Designer Drugs are appealing because they are readily available, and they are hard to detect.

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Best Treatment Centers

Inpatient Rehab for Designer Drugs

Inpatient Rehab for Designer Drugs

During Detox for Designer Drugs, the addiction professionals will determine which drugs you are addicted to, and then they will create a customized treatment plan for you. The most effective treatment you can receive for Designer Drug abuse is inpatient care. Inpatient treatment occurs at a live-in facility where the patient is under 24-hour medical care. One of the benefits of inpatient treatment is it removes you from access to the Designer Drugs you may be addicted to. You will also be able to choose from a host of behavioral therapy options including individual, group, family, CBT and alternative therapies like equine, yoga, art and music.

Outpatient Designer Drug Rehab

Outpatient Designer Drug Rehab

Outpatient treatment is typically less expensive than inpatient treatment, as you only go a few times a week, and you don’t stay overnight at the facility. This may be a great option for abusers of Designer Drugs that have family and work responsibilities that prevent them from going to a live-in facility. Similar behavioral therapy options are also available to you in outpatient treatment. You can also participate in a combination of therapies to get the most benefit from your recovery. Some people prefer individual therapy over group therapy, and vice versa, but you may benefit from both. Family therapy is also effective if you need to repair relationships within your family.

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Intervention for Designer Drug AddictionIntervention for Designer Drug Addiction

Letting a loved one know your concerned for his or her health is never an easy thing. Many people who have an addiction tend to be in denial about the substance abuse problem. If you are too assertive or too passive, you could send them the wrong message or make them feel shameful. Professional interventionists can help you conduct an intervention that focuses them on getting help instead of feel embarrassed. If you can’t find a professional interventionist, a friend or family member can lead the intervention in their place. Try to conduct the intervention in a way that is non-judgmental and based on compassion, love and respect.

Travel for Designer Drug TreatmentTravel for Designer Drug Treatment

If you are addicted to Designer or Synthetic Drugs and have decided to go to a treatment facility, think about traveling to another city or state for your treatment. Traveling for treatment gets you away from your dealer, environments and people that may be contributing to your use, as well as other stresses. Traveling for treatment also provides you a level of confidentiality in your rehab as you will be less likely to encounter people you know when you go to treatment in another city or state. Traveling for treatment can also give you the opportunity to reflect on your rehab during your travel time.

Survivors of Substance Abuse

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Family Therapy for Designer Drug Addicts
Family Therapy for Designer Drug Addicts.

People addicted to Designer Drugs may have damaged relationships with friends and family members. Addiction creates strain on the support system of the family, and this is the reason that many treatment facilities offer Family therapy. In family therapy, you and your family can both learn coping skills and communication techniques to improve your relationships. Family therapy also includes an educational and informative element so the patient and their family can understand the damaging effects of Designer Drugs, and also have a better understanding of how addiction is a disease. Recovery is a life-long process and recovering addicts will need all the help they can get to overcome the disease of addiction, including the support of family. Often times the family is the most abused by addicts, and there needs to be forgiveness and healing with the family, and a level of re-established trust to repair the support system. Family therapy can go a long way in making all of this happen.

Group Meetings for Designer Drug Recovery
Group Meetings for Designer Drug Recovery

When you finish rehab, your recovery will continue. Many recovering Designer Drug addicts receive great benefits from group meetings like AA, CA and NA. In group meetings, you can meet people just like yourself, and establish a support system among these peers. You also have the opportunity to share your experiences and challenges in recovery. You can find a sponsor at group meetings who can help you on a personal basis to achieve your addiction goals. Also consider participating in a 12-step program near you. The 12-steps are a series of steps that give recovering addicts more accountability, integrity and humility on their path to recovery. The core belief of the 12-steps is that people who are addicted are powerless to overcome their addiction without the help of a higher power.

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What Causes People to Overdose from Designer Drugs?What Causes People to Overdose from Designer Drugs?

People typically overdose from Designer Drugs when they ingest a drug or an amount of the drug that is too toxic for their system to handle. It may cause their heart to rapidly beat, causing a heart attack, or may cause it and other systems to slow down to the degree that they no longer can function to sustain life. Another way people overdose from Designer Drugs is when they go through detox and use again after detoxing. They will typically return to the same amount that they used before detoxing, but now their bodies aren’t used to it, and they overdose and sometimes die. Abusers of Designer Drugs develop tolerances over time. However, everyone has a limit of what is too toxic for them. Everyone has a breaking point. Combining different Designer Drugs with other drugs or alcohol can push the toxicity beyond an individual’s breaking point and cause them to overdose. The nature of addiction causes people to use more and more of a substance to reach the same high, and that’s one of the main reasons for overdose.

Are Designer Drugs Covered Under Insurance?Are Designer Drugs Covered Under Insurance?

Addiction to Designer Drugs, as well as all substances is a disease. It’s a chronic behavioral, physical and psychological disease that effects all parts of the body, brain, organs and emotions of the persons. It is currently treated by the medical community like other chronic diseases, and more and more health insurance carriers now cover treatment for substance abuse addiction. Inquire with your insurance policy to see if Designer Drug addiction treatment is covered. Some carriers may cover all of the treatment, or just a portion of it. For example, they may only cover the first 30 days of treatment. If you don’t have insurance, check with programs offered in your state. Many states provide care to people who can’t afford drug and alcohol treatment. Also, the treatment center may have financial aid or a payment plan that they can work out with you.

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