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The Influence in Dane County WI.
What are synthetic Products?
Synthetic products (drugs) are synthetic (human-made) drugs chemically related to cathinone, a stimulant found in the khat plant. Khat is a shrub grown in East Africa and southern Arabia, and people sometimes chew its leaves for their mild stimulant effects. Synthetic variants of cathinone can be much stronger than the natural product and, in some cases, very dangerous.
In Name Only
Synthetic products marketed as "bath salts" should not be confused with products such as Epsom salts that people use during bathing. These bathing products have no mind-altering ingredients.
Synthetic products usually take the form of a white or brown crystal-like powder and are sold in small plastic or foil packages labeled "not for human consumption." Also sometimes labeled as "plant food," "jewelry cleaner," or "phone screen cleaner," people can buy them online and in drug paraphernalia stores under a variety of brand names, which include:
How do people use synthetic products?
People typically swallow, snort, smoke, or inject synthetic products.
How do synthetic products affect the brain?
Much is still unknown about how synthetic products affect the human brain. Researchers do know that synthetic products are chemically similar to amphetamines, cocaine, and MDMA. These drugs can cause a range of effects including lowered inhibition, anxiety, and depression.
People who have taken synthetics have reported energizing and often agitating effects. Synthetics can also raise heart rate and blood pressure. A recent study found that 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), a common synthetic drug, affects the brain in a manner similar to cocaine but is at least 10 times more powerful. MDPV is the most common synthetic drug found in the blood and urine of patients admitted to emergency departments after taking "bath salts".
Synthetic products can produce effects that include:
What are other health effects of synthetic drugs?
Nosebleeds, sweating, and nausea are some other health effects of synthetics. People who experience excited delirium often suffer from dehydration, breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue, and kidney failure.
Intoxication from synthetic products has resulted in death. The worst outcomes are associated with snorting or needle injection.
Synthetic Cathinones and Molly
Molly slang for "molecular," refers to the pure crystal powder form of 3,4-methylenedioxymetamphetamine (MDMA). Usually purchased in capsules, Molly has become more popular in the past few years. Users may be seeking out Molly to avoid the additives commonly found in MDMA pills sold as Ecstasy, such as caffeine, methamphetamine, and other harmful drugs. But those who take what they think is "pure" Molly may be exposing themselves to the same risks. News stories have reported Molly capsules containing harmful substances that include synthetic cathinones. For example, hundreds of Molly capsules tested in two South Florida crime labs in 2012 contained methylone, a dangerous synthetic cathinone.
Are synthetic products addictive?
Yes, synthetic drugs can be addictive. Animal studies show that rats will compulsively self-administer synthetic cathinones. Human users have reported that the drugs trigger intense cravings uncontrollable urges to use the drug again. Taking synthetic cathinones often may cause strong withdrawal symptoms that include:
How can people get treatment for addiction to synthetic drugs?
Behavioral therapy may be used to treat addiction to synthetics. Examples include:
No medications are currently available to treat addiction to synthetic cathinones.
Points to Remember
For more information about synthetic cathinones, visit:
For more information about treatment, visit: