Drug and Alcohol - Addiction Recovery

Designer Drugs: Treating Designer Drug Addiction & More

What are Designer Drugs?

Designer drugs can be extremely dangerous: there's no guarantee of what you're really taking. Learn more about designer drugs in our blog.

Written by

brian-mooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

jeremy-arztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

Drug and Alcohol

Addiction Recovery

October 27, 2023

There's participating in science experiments ... and then there's being the subject of a science experiment.

Basically, that's what designer drug abuse is: willingly being the subject of someone else's experiments with various chemicals and solvents.

Designer drugs are synthetic or man-made substances that have similar effects to illegal drugs. Designer drug addiction is on the rise due to its easy accessibility and affordability compared to traditional street drugs.

These drugs often mimic the effects of illegal substances like cocaine, ecstasy, and LSD, but because they are created in underground laboratories, they can be more potent and unpredictable. This makes them extremely dangerous and can lead to severe addiction, overdose, and even death.

While designer drugs may seem appealing for their supposed "safer" effects, the truth is that they are just as harmful as traditional drugs. In fact, many designer drugs have been found to contain toxic substances that can cause serious health problems or even death with prolonged use.

Designer Drugs by the Numbers:

In the 2014 Global Drugs Survey, over 20% of Americans who participated admitted to using synthetic drugs at some point during the year prior.

Designer Drugs: What Are They?

The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies designer pharmaceuticals into seven categories:

Designer Drugs: Cannabinoids

Cannabinoids are a type of designer drug that mimics the effects of marijuana. These synthetic cannabinoids are often sold as herbal incense, potpourri, or bath salts and can be found under names like K2 and Spice. However, these products have no relation to the actual plant and instead contain dangerous chemicals that produce similar effects.

Designer Drugs: Cathinones

Cathinones are stimulant designer drugs that mimic the effects of amphetamines and cocaine. These synthetic substances can be found in products marketed as bath salts, plant food, or jewelry cleaners. Some common names for these drugs include "flakka" and "bath salts".

Designer Drugs: Phenethylamines

Phenethylamines are another type of stimulant designer drug that mimics the effects of ecstasy and amphetamines. These substances, also known as "bromo-dragonfly" or "2C-E", can be found in pill form or as a powder.

Designer Drugs: Piperazines

Piperazines are a type of designer drug that acts as a stimulant and has similar effects to ecstasy. These substances are often sold as "party pills" or marketed under names like "ecstasy alternative".

Designer Drugs: Tryptamines

Tryptamines are a type of designer drug that mimics the effects of LSD and other hallucinogens. These synthetic substances can be found in pill form, liquid form, or as blotter paper.

Designer Drugs: Phenylpiperazines

Phenylpiperazines are a type of designer drug that mimics the effects of hallucinogens and stimulants. These substances, also known as "bath salts" or "smiles", can be found in pill form or as a powder.

Designer Drugs: Opioids

Opioids are a type of designer drug that mimics the effects of traditional opioids like morphine and heroin. These substances are often sold as prescription painkillers or marketed under names like "China white" and "krokodil".

These medicine names aren't particularly easy to pronounce. In most situations, they originate from the chemical composition of the material itself. Therefore, a chemistry student may be more familiar with the names than a drug user.

What Are Some Common Designer Drugs?

While there are many designer drugs on the market, some of the most commonly abused include:

New designer drugs constantly appear. Manufacturers and dealers are always trying to stay one step ahead of regulators and law enforcement by creating new chemical compounds that have not yet been made illegal. This constant experimentation creates an ever-growing list of harmful and potentially deadly substances.

CTA background

We’re Here to Help You Find Your Way

Would you like more information about designer drugs? Reach out today.

Why Were Designer Drugs Created?

These substances were created to replicate the effects of illegal drugs for research purposes.

These substances' ambiguous legal status alone makes them interesting to certain consumers. Chemists have worked hard to create pharmaceuticals devoid of the characteristics and markings that drug enforcement communities seek. Therefore, certain drug users can get high on these substances without being arrested or suffering any other negative consequences.

Plus, most drug tests can’t detect designer drugs.

Designer Drug Addiction: Signs and Symptoms

Designer drug addiction can be difficult to detect, as many of these substances are not easily recognizable by appearance alone. However, there are some common signs and symptoms to look out for:

  • Changes in behavior, such as sudden mood swings or increased agitation

  • Neglecting responsibilities and obligations

  • Withdrawal from social activities and relationships

  • Financial problems due to excessive spending on drugs

  • Physical changes, such as weight loss, dilated pupils, or poor hygiene habits

If you or someone you know is exhibiting these signs and symptoms, it may be a sign of designer drug addiction and professional help should be sought.

CTA background

We’re Here to Help You Find Your Way

Do you have more questions about designer drugs? Reach out.

Are Designer Drugs Addictive?

In short, yes. Designer drugs are just as addictive as traditional street drugs and can cause severe physical and psychological dependence. Due to their unpredictable nature, users may also experience intense cravings for the substance and be willing to take higher doses in search of a stronger high.

You can overdose on designer drugs easily. Unlike traditional drugs that have been studied and have set dosage recommendations, designer drugs are often created with unknown substances and potency levels. This makes it extremely dangerous to take them, as users can quickly overdose without realizing it.

Studies seem to show that these substances, at the very least, have the capacity to bring about alterations in the brain that lead to addiction. For example, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, cannabinoid medications contain components that are known to interact with brain receptors activated by marijuana.

Designer Drugs: Treatment & Recovery

Designer drug addiction is a serious issue and requires professional treatment in order to overcome it. It's important for individuals struggling with designer drug addiction to seek help from a licensed addiction treatment center.

In these facilities, individuals can receive personalized care and support to address the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of their addiction. Treatment may include detoxification, therapy, and relapse prevention techniques.

Additionally, support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) can also provide valuable resources and a sense of community for individuals in recovery from designer drug addiction.

CTA background

We’re Here to Help You Find Your Way

Do you need advice about designer drugs? Reach out today.

Do Designer Drugs Have Withdrawal Symptoms

Yes, designer drugs can have withdrawal symptoms when an individual stops using them. These symptoms can vary depending on the type of designer drug and the severity of addiction. Some common withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Insomnia

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Muscle aches and pains

  • Irritability or agitation

  • Hallucinations

  • Seizures

It is important to seek professional help when withdrawing from designer drugs, as the withdrawal process can be dangerous and even life-threatening in some cases. A medical detox program can provide the necessary support and care to manage withdrawal symptoms safely.

The Dangers of Designer Drugs

Designer drugs may seem appealing for their accessibility and perceived "safer" effects, but the truth is that they are just as dangerous and addictive as traditional street drugs. In fact, due to their unpredictable nature and unknown potency levels, they can be even more deadly.

It's important for individuals to educate themselves on the dangers of designer drugs and seek help if they or someone they know is struggling with addiction. Recovery is possible, but it starts with acknowledging the harm that designer drug abuse can cause and taking steps toward seeking professional help.

So, it's important to stay away from these harmful substances and make informed decisions when it comes to our physical and mental well-being.

CTA background

We’re Here to Help You Find Your Way

Would you like more information about designer drugs? Reach out today.

Designer Drugs: Treatment & Recovery

Designer drug addiction is a serious issue and requires professional treatment in order to overcome it. It's important for individuals struggling with designer drug addiction to seek help from a licensed addiction treatment center.

In these facilities, individuals can receive personalized care and support to address the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of their addiction. Treatment may include detoxification, therapy, and relapse prevention techniques.

Additionally, support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) can also provide valuable resources and a sense of community for individuals in recovery from designer drug addiction.

What Is Recovery From Designer Drug Addiction Like?

Recovery from designer drug addiction can be a challenging but rewarding journey. It may involve facing difficult emotions, rebuilding relationships, and learning new coping mechanisms to deal with triggers and cravings.

However, with the right support and resources, recovery is possible. It's important for individuals in recovery to have a strong support system, access to therapy and counseling, and a commitment to continuing their sobriety journey.

How Common Is Designer Drug Addiction?

Designer drug addiction may not receive as much media coverage as traditional street drugs, but it is still a prevalent problem. The constantly evolving nature of designer drugs makes it difficult to track their use and impact accurately. However, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there were over 11 million people in the United States who reported using synthetic cannabinoids (a type of designer drug) in 2019.

Feel Like Designer Drugs Are Taking Over Your Life? The Edge Treatment Center Will Help

Designer drug abuse is literally gambling with your life. When you buy designer drugs, there's no guarantee you're buying (and using) the drug you think you are. That might be MDMA, or it might be something cooked up in a lab somewhere.

Plus, a lot of club drugs are contaminated with harmful additives, including fentanyl. Designer drugs are a bet that's simply not worth it. Sure, you might feel great...or be dead. Even drugs like MDMA can be extremely dangerous because they can raise a person's body temperature to lethal levels.

If you or a loved one is struggling with designer drug addiction, know that you are not alone. The Edge Treatment Center offers comprehensive and personalized treatment programs for individuals seeking recovery from designer drug addiction.

Our team of experienced professionals will work with you to address the physical, emotional, and psychological aspects of your addiction, providing you with the tools and support needed to achieve long-term sobriety.

Don't let designer drugs take over your life any longer. Contact us today to learn more about our treatment options and start your journey towards recovery. There is hope for a brighter future, and we are here to help you every step of the way.

So don't hesitate. Reach out to The Edge Treatment Center for help and start your path toward a healthier and happier life.

CTA background

We’re Here to Help You Find Your Way

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, there is hope. Our team can guide you on your journey to recovery. Call us today.