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Synthetic Forms of LSD and Other Drugs Are Claiming the Lives of Many Teens

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Imagine a substance that could get a person high after ingesting only a few granules. Imagine if this type of substance was legal. As it turns out, you don't have to imagine it. Substances like this do exist and they are claiming the lives of teens and young adults on a national scale.

Synthetic drugs are chemically modified substances manufactured to mimic the highs you can get from scheduled drugs like LSD, marijuana, and meth. While the highs are the same, the molecular makeup of these drugs is just enough to miss the threshold to be classified as illegal controlled substances. The substances are marketed as a "legal alternative" to scheduled drugs under names like "K2" and "Spice."

CNN chronicles the story of a North Dakota high school senior who overdosed on an LSD designer copycat known as 2C-I-NBOMe or 2C-C-NBOMe. The young man had attended a house party the night before, so police conducted an investigation of the home. Upon initial investigation, they found a white, powdery substance but could not determine what it was. Just two days later, in the same community, it happened again. A teenager died after ingesting some kind of white powder.

Synthetic drugs can cause violent hallucinations, convulsions, foaming at the mouth, cardiac arrest, and death. Because these substances are synthetically manufactured, unregulated, and legal, many law enforcement officers have a difficult time identifying them. Currently, experts determine that there are at least 300 different types of designer drugs in the United States.

These synthetic substances aren't readily available because regulators don't care about the danger they pose. Most of these drugs are still legal because manufacturers are staying one step ahead of regulators. An amendment passes to outlaw a synthetic type of marijuana? Not to worry – manufacturers have already developed an alternative to the now-outlawed drug that is so new, regulators don't even know about it, let alone have enough time to ban it.

A majority of the chemical needed to manufacture synthetic drugs come from overseas, primarily China. The U.S. has been pressuring the Chinese to stem manufacture of these chemicals for exporting to the United States. It is important to be aware not just that these substances are out there, but that they have a devastating effect on families – many families just like yours.