A Digital Market – A Synthetic Drug

synthetic-drugThe demand for synthetic drugs in the United States continues to grow as lawmakers and police officials struggle with how to contain what has become a billion dollar industry. Synthetic drugs are far from benign; everyday news stories about horrific incidents involving these types of drugs grab the public’s attention. Users of synthetic drug have little way of knowing what they are consuming and the side effects that will follow.

Synthetic drug manufactures are constantly altering the formula to stay one step ahead of U.S. bans. After reformulating, there is little, if any, testing to determine the side effects one might expect. The results vary, but synthetic drug use often involves temporary psychosis and violent behavior.

Chinese Origins

Today, the bulk of synthetic drugs is being manufactured in China where there is little oversight and even less regulation. American synthetic drug dealers are purchasing these dangerous drugs online with little difficulty, the Miami Herald reports. Smuggling synthetic drugs into the U.S. does not involve “mules,” the USPS and other private shipping companies do just fine.

“There is no typical drug dealer anymore,” said South Florida’s U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer. “It’s easy to get access to this stuff. It’s less dangerous and less risky. These new drug dealers are using the Internet, and all they need is a runner to go intercept the package from overseas.”

The most common synthetic drugs ordered from China include:

  • Bath Salts
  • Flakka
  • Spice
  • Molly
  • NBOMe

Perpetual Changes – Constant Danger

As soon as the United States issues a ban on a synthetic drug or a chemical used to make a particular drug, Chinese chemists alter their formulation. The next shipment to find its way into the country will likely be a formulation that has not been banned. It also means that the side effects that come along with the new product are anyone’s guess.

“They’re way ahead of us,” Kevin Stanfill, Assistant Special Agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Miami Field Division, said of the Chinese synthetic drug distributors. “They watch the news; they see the reports. It’s ever changing, and we have to change with the times.”


If you are or your loved one is struggling with addiction, please contact Next Step Intervention. We can assist you in finding the right treatment which will help you start your journey of recovery.

The Profits from Synthetic Drugs Sent to The Middle East

synthetic-drugsSynthetic drug use has become increasingly popular over the last few years – chemically synthesized compounds designed to mimic the effects of traditional narcotics. While these drugs are marketed to give potential users the expectation of experiencing a familiar high, the reality is that synthetic marijuana and bath salts have unpredictable side effects that send many users to the emergency room.

New World Drugs Funding the Middle East

In major cities across the country both local and federal Drug Enforcement Administration officials have had to combat the ever growing problem of synthetic drug use. In New York City, Police Commissioner William Bratton is calling synthetic marijuana – “weaponized marijuana,” attributed to a 100 hospital emergency room visits a week, Newsweek reports.

Federal officials have determined that a large portion of the proceeds generated by the sale of synthetic marijuana ends up being funneled to the Middle East. However, there is little evidence to suggest that the funds are supporting terrorism, according to the article. Many of the places that people purchase synthetic drugs are owned by people with Middle Eastern heritage, a possible explanation for the link.

“Many of these investigations continued to uncover the massive flow of drug-related proceeds to countries in the Middle East, including Yemen, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, as well as other countries,” said the DEA.

Synthetic Drugs at a Glance

The most commonly used synthetic drugs are bath salts and synthetic marijuana. They are sold under a number of different names, such as Spice or K2, and can vary in potency and formula. Such variations, account not only for the unpredictable side effects associated with these drugs, they make it difficult to create bans on the substances. As soon as the government bans a particular formula, the manufacturers simply change the formula to stay ahead of the law.

The side effects of synthetic drugs have been responsible for suicides, homicides, and a large number of hospitalizations throughout the country. Synthetic drugs can become habit forming and lead to addiction. Poison control centers report that the common side effects of use can include:

  • Increased Heart Rate
  • Vomiting
  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations


If you are or loved one is using synthetic drugs, please contact Next Step Intervention. We can assist you in finding the right treatment which will help you start your journey of recovery.

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