Synthetic drugs kill 45 people in one year

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“A wave of designer drugs that could kill an elephant is on the way” “Man (20s) arrested after 'designer drug' puts six people in hospital in Cork” “Syn city: NZ's deadly designer drugs crisis”

The news is always full of horror stories of crime and deaths linked with the latest wave of “designer drugs”. In the 80s, the rave music scene saw a steep rise in “club” drugs such as MDMA, Molly and Ecstasy with stories of kids dying whilst trying these drugs for the first time on a night out clubbing. Then in the 90’s it was the advent of the date rape drugs GHB & Rohypnol - putting women, and men, in danger of being “spiked” whilst out having a quiet drink with friends.

And nowadays the headlines are screaming about the wave of synthetic cannabinoids & opioids that have hit the streets, creating monsters out of schoolchildren and destroying whole families. But what are “Designer drugs”? This was a term first made popular in the 80s, and is the name given to synthetic drugs made to mimic the effects of plant-based substances such as cocaine, morphine or marijuana. Originally pharmaceutical companies used science to try to copy and improve these substances, the idea was to make them safer and more available for legal medical use or to limit the negative side effects. As with any drugs people have found a way to abuse them.

The demand for illicitly made and sold “designer drugs” has grown, and the criminal gangs running the drug labs saw the mega-profits to be made from getting it onto the streets. Now almost all the designer drugs sold on the street are illegally mass-produced in unlawful underground laboratories. There are no set recipes or formulas, no monitoring of ingredients & certainly no quality control. The illegally made drugs often contain components that are not really meant for human consumption and strengths between batches, never mind dealers, can vary leading to sometimes fatal overdoses.

Due to the ever-widening range of synthetic drugs available on the streets, in clubs and over the internet there is no demographic that is affected more than others. This means one of these headlines could be someone you know and care about, it can literally happen to anyone.

If you, or someone you love, is struggling with an drug problem contact the specialist addiction team at Phoenix Programmes on their confidential helpline +34 685 582 150

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