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2012: The Year of Synthetic Drugs

Synthetic drugs have irrevocably changed the face of international drug dealing, while ushering in a new era of hysteria.

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Legalization is one answer, say some observers. After all the bizarre twists and turns in the Drug War, now police are faced with arresting citizens for a bag of something they just bought openly at an incense shop down the block. But another, less drastic and arguably more sensible approach would be to ease off on formal workplace drug testing—which has not proved to be worth the money, in most cases. Less testing would mean less incentive to seek out new and untested drug products that promise users an end-run around piss testing.

In the end, one bath salts user might have an acceptable drug experience, while another might find that a few whiffs of the same synthetic stimulant will land him or her in the emergency room with a dangerously elevated heart rate and other complications.  As for synthetic cannabis, a large  survey by Guardian/Mixmag in England, which included the U.S., reported that drug users tended to rate the Spice/K2 drugs as “more harmful than natural weed, and less likely to deliver pleasurable highs.”

Skip the synthetics. And tell your friends.

 

Dirk Hanson is a freelance science reporter and novelist who lives in Minnesota. He has worked as a business and technology reporter for numerous magazines and trade publications, and is the author of "The Chemical Carousel: What Science Tells Us About Treating Addiction."
 
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