Human Relations Media Blog

Information and Resources for Guidance Counselors & Health Teachers

Emerging Drugs of Abuse

Posted on February 13th 2013

A New KInd of Drug

Spice, K2, bath salts, Kratom, Krokodile, Oxidado and Salvia.  Have you ever heard these names?  They represent a dangerous new class of synthetic drugs that are sweeping through high schools and cities across the world.  These drugs are addictive, deadly, and may be legal for purchase on-line or in convenience stores. 

Synthetic Marijuana

The trend started with synthetic marijuana, also known as Spice, K2 or Salvia.  This man-made drug has a similar molecular structure to marijuana, but it is different enough from the real thing that no laws could deem the sale of Spice illegal.  The problem is that Spice was even stronger than marijuana, binding to receptors in the brain more effectively to create a stronger, more dangerous high.  Drug creators marketed Spice as an "herbal incense," and marked the label, "not for human consumption" in an effort to skirt drug laws.  But people do consume Spice and the consequences are deadly. 

More Synthetic Drugs

With the popularity of Spice came other synthetic drugs, like bath salts.  Bath salts are a synthetic form of speed that also contains hallucinogenic properties.  Users compare the effects of bath salts to cocaine or methamphetamines.  Bath salts are marketed as packages of product to put in your bathtub, like epsom salts, and are labeled, "not for human consumption."  Yet, people still ingest it, shoot it, snort it, smoke it and put themselves at risk.  Bath salts are highly addictive and have been linked to many deaths and suicides. 


What You Can Do

Synthetic drug makers are very savvy.  They can change one molecule in the structure of these drugs and make the product legal for sale on-line and in convenience stores and head shops.  As long as they are still practicing chemistry, educators must talk to their students about the inherent dangers of synthetic drugs.

Start a conversation in your class room.  Ask your students:

-Do you know anyone who is considering taking or has taken synthetic drugs?

-Have you seen these drugs available for sale?

-Do you know the potential hazards and risks for synthetic drugs?


You can also conduct a debate over the legal status of synthetic drugs.  How do your students feel about the availability of the drugs?  Does "illegal" or "legal" matter to them?  

HRM Video offers a new video on the current synthetic drugs called, Emerging Drugs of AbuseFilmed in a gritty, documentary style, former users pull no punches as they tell your students just how dangerous these new drugs are. Law enforcement is stretched thin trying to keep up as drug dealers concoct new poisons in their basement labs including Spice, K2, bath salts, Kratom, Krokodile, Oxidado, and salvia (old but making a comeback), as well as new versions of dextromethorphan and crystal meth. The message is clear: Anyone taking these or any new, unknown drugs is risking serious injury or death.


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