When it comes to drugs, drug users and dealers always seem to be one step ahead. Take the synthetic drug market for instance. Illegal street chemists use a variety of chemicals, many of which are legal, to create substances like bath salts. These chemicals are exactly that: toxic, deadly ingredients whose risks are heightened when combined with other compounds.
The chemists and dealers don’t care; it’s all a business to them. By the time drug treatment centers and law enforcement crackdown on the chemicals used in the drugs, street chemists are already on to something else. Their resourcefulness allows them to sell many of these drugs right under our noses as well, in gas stations and convenience stores across the country.
Another common trend in the drug world is assigning innocent, familiar names to toxic drugs. If you’re a parent, it wouldn’t raise a red flag to hear your teen talk about their friend “Molly” or discuss things like puppy chow or lemon drops. By the time parents catch on, their teens have often experimented with the drug and moved on to something else.
Although difficult, law enforcement, treatment centers, and medical communities try very hard to stay on top of emerging drug trends. The more we know, the better we can crack down on drugs that are quietly lurking in the shadows. The Regional Organized Crime Information Center recently released a report that takes a look at emerging drug trends from 2014. The information reported is helpful for everyone and covers newly emergent drugs, as well as ones that we have been battling for years.
Zohydro: This powerful prescription painkiller hit the market in March 2014. Zohydro is an extended-release painkiller that contains up to five times more hydrocodone than painkillers already on the market. The drug has already raised concern because of the prescription drug abuse epidemic; was something like this really necessary? Although designed for chronic pain sufferers, Zohydro can be toxic in the wrong hands, especially since the pills can be crushed.
Acetyl Fentanyl: This drug is used for people with severe or chronic pain, and it’s also sometimes used in cancer patients, but only as a last resort. It’s five times more powerful than heroin as a painkiller, and the fact that it’s available in many forms (patches, lozenges, pills) makes it even more attractive for drug abusers. Already, overdoses from the drug have occurred in multiple states. It is sometimes referred to as China White.
Purple Drank: Although Purple Drank, or Lean, is nothing new, it’s something that still exists on the street. Since all you need are a few ingredients that are found in most homes, the drink is popular among youth. Purple Drank may look innocent and taste sweet, but it’s far from that. Also, if the drink is combined with other substances, which it commonly is, fatal complications can occur.
Lemon Drop: Lemon Drop is another type of homemade hallucinogenic drug that contains over-the-counter ingredients. The concoction isn’t as sweet as Purple Drank, and some people even use lighter fluid in the mixture. Not only is Lemon Drop harmful because it contains toxic ingredients like paint solvent, but also it can be deadly when mixed with other substances.
Gravel: Gravel is highly addicting. It’s a synthetic cathinone that contains alpha-PVP. The drug is extremely dangerous and can include a cocktail of rat poison, bath salts, and methamphetamines. These drugs aren’t good on their own, but when mixed with each other, they become deadly. Law enforcement has dealt with some cases of gravel use, and while they say the rage isn’t as bad as with bath salts, the paranoia is extreme.
MXE: MXE has hallucinogenic and dissociative effects, and it’s sold in packaging that is similar to bath salts. Because it’s labeled with “not for human consumption,” MXE is able to be sold in places like hemp stores, convenience stores, and gas stations.
Pump-It Powder: Pump-It Powder is a newer drug that has been created to replace bath salts. In an effort to circumvent legal restrictions, illegal street chemists have moved on to new compounds and packaging. Pump-It Powder is sold in plastic jars and marketed as an enhanced plant vitamin. The scariest part is that this drug can be used in a variety of ways, even added to food. Overdosing is very easy.
Dabs: Dabs is a highly concentrated version of THC, also known as Butane Hash Oil or Wax. It’s so powerful, it can keep someone high for more than a day. Dabs have little smell and can be vaporized or used in its solid form. With growing acceptance and tolerance of marijuana, it’s not uncommon to see people experimenting with Dabs and thinking nothing of it.
THC Puppy Chow: You won’t be able to tell the difference between regular puppy chow and THC Puppy Chow, so if you’re a parent, be on alert. THC Puppy Chow is made in the same way as the regular recipe, with melted chocolate, butter and powder sugar combined with Chex cereal. The difference is that THC oil is added to the process.
Benzo Fury: This party drug is similar in structure to MDMA and is typically taken in pill form. The effects are similar to molly or ecstasy and include euphoria and a surge in energy. Benzo Fury doesn’t just rival molly and ecstasy in terms of structure and effects. It’s already claimed the lives of some of its users and attracts even occasional partygoers, including college graduates.
Bromo Dragonfly: This psychedelic drug is slightly less potent than LSD, but it has 200 times the potency of mescaline. The effects can last for days, but often it takes hours for the effects to kick in. Because of this, it’s not uncommon for users to take several doses and then they end up hallucinating and being paranoid for days on end.
For the full report of emerging drug trends (yes, unfortunately, this is just some of it), view the full report here.
Photo c/o: Brian Hoskins