Synthetic cathinones are just one of many families of drugs emerging that contain synthetic chemicals and are referred to as “bath salts”. Cathinones as well as amphetamine stimulants which are synthetic are found in the Khat plant. These drugs present with serious effects and cause dangerous health problems as well as severe intoxication which have created a growing safety and public health issue. “Bath salts” produce an increased sex drive, euphoria, and users become overly sociable.
Many users experience agitation, violent and psychotic behaviour hallucinatory delirium and paranoia and in many cases deaths have been reported. In order to hide the drug from authorities, synthetic Cathinones is marketed as bath salts. These types of drugs come in the form of brown or white crystalline powder and are sold in either foil or plastic packages that are labelled as plant food, cell phone screen cleaner or jewellery cleaner.
Synthetic Cathinones are sold in drug paraphernalia stores under brand names such as cloud nine, white lightening, bloom, scare face and ivory wave and are also sold online. “Bath salts” are inhaled, injected or taken orally and in the worst instance snorted. The most common ingredients found in bath salts include MDPV, mephedrone, methylone and many other such substances.
Studies on how these various substances affect the brain are still inconclusive as each substance has different properties. However, chemically they are very similar to MDMA and amphetamines. Studies have shown that bath salts provide an energizing effect and they raise the level dopamine in the brain which regulates movement and reward and at the same time increase the blood pressure and heart rate.
Smoked and Snorted
Blood and urine tests done on patients admitted to emergency units revealed showed that dopamine and serotonin levels were raised 10 times higher than cocaine or heroine. Recently “bath salts” has been banned and termed as an illegal drug. Although some manufacturers have now replaced the drug with a chemical know as naphyrone which is being sold under the name of cosmic blast and branded as jewellery cleaner.
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Almost daily there are new drug trends networking in major metropolitan areas across the country. For example “Krokodil” which featured in the poor rural areas of Russia is now infiltrating other countries including South Africa. This drug is a synthetic drug known as Desomorphine which is similar to heroin. The drug is made up of toxic chemicals such as industrial cleaners, lighter fluid mixed with codeine. This drug produces similar effects to heroine, although more powerful and the high is a lot shorter.
This drug is injected and at the needle site leaves dead skin that is a scaly greenish colour, hence the name Krokodil. This drug destroys the flesh and eventually will become gangrenous and in some instances in order to save the users life an amputation of the infected limb is necessary. Other hallucinogenic street drugs include N-bomb which are being sold as legal substitutes for mescaline or LSD.
N-bomb is also known as 251, smiles or legal LSD which comes in the form of either laced edibles, liquids or powders. Like other hallucinogenic’s the chemicals affect the serotonin receptors in the brain and are far more powerful than LSD. There have been reports of several users dying from this drug as a minute amount of the substance can cause breathing difficulties, heart attacks and seizures.
Common Street Drugs
Codeine syrups which are known as sizzurp, purple drink or lean are mixed with soda’s that produce street drugs that create euphoria and a relaxed feeling. An antihistamine such as promethazine, which acts as a sedative is added into sweet mixtures, is a popular cheap alternative to get a high. However, opioid’s such as codeine is fatal when overdosed as codeine depresses the central nervous system, which affects the lungs and heart especially when mixed with alcohol. The pure crystalline powder Molly which is a form of MDMA produces euphoria and surplus energy can affect your sleeping patterns, cause depression and confusion.
Molly is a dangerous drug as it contains methylene a dangerous stimulant found in bath salts. In addition researcher found that the Molly capsules contained heroin, cocaine and other such substances. When taking any prescription or illegal street drugs one is exposing themselves dangerously high risks that will result in serious side effects and in some instances death.
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