designer drugs

The designer drugs - A group of illegally produced chemicals that mimic the effects of specific drugs of abuse. Made in illicit laboratories, they are cheap to produce and undercut the street prices of drugs. Designer drugs can cause drug dependence and drug poisoning.

There are three major types: drugs that are derived from opioid analgesic drugs (painkillers) such as fentanyl; drugs that are similar to amphetamines, such as ecstasy; and variants of phencyclidine (PCP), a hallucinogenic drug.

These highly potent drugs are not tested for adverse effects or for the strength of the tablets or capsules, making their use hazardous. For example, some derivatives of fentanyl are 20–2,000 times as powerful as morphine. Amphetamine derivatives can cause brain damage at doses only slightly higher than those required for a stimulant effect. Many designer drugs contain impurities that can cause permanent damage.

Designer drugs carry a high risk of drug dependence, with severe withdrawal reactions, and of drug poisoning, causing effects such as brain damage.


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