Nearly every month it seems like the news is doing an expose on some dangerous new street drug concoction. It would be easy to think the news media was just inventing this stuff, as crazy as some of it sounds. But, the truth is America’s appetite for drugs is insatiable and cartels, criminals and others never really stop looking for new drugs to market.
What dangerous street drugs should you be aware of and what do you need to know about them? Achieve Wellness and Recovery will tackle those questions and a few others in this article.
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What Is a Dangerous Street Drug Exactly?
When we say dangerous street drugs, we’re not necessarily referring to any drug you can buy on the street. Forget about heroin and cocaine and the usual suspects for a moment. What we’re looking at here are the more exotic and less familiar drugs that appear on the street and market from time to time.
These are the street drugs with sometimes mysterious origins which sometimes fall into a legal “gray area” by design. Dangerous street drugs often make the news because of their alarming and sometimes bizarre or terrifying side effects. As a substance abuse treatment center, we believe we have a duty to inform the public about drug addiction and the myriad of threats associated with it.
Some of the most prominent examples of dangerous street drugs include:
- Xylazine (tranq)
- K2 or Spice
- Bath Salts
- Monkey Dust
What Makes Street Drugs Like Xylazine or Monkey Dust So Dangerous?
Each category of street drug has its own unique set of side effects and risks of course, but there are a few characteristics they pretty much all share and these also happen to be among the biggest motivating factors for us writing this article.
Here are some of the characteristics that make these street drugs so dangerous:
- They aren’t FDA-regulated, approved, or even tested for human use.
The majority of these drugs aren’t “known quantities”. Heroin is extremely dangerous, but we know what heroin is and what it does. It is well understood. Even fentanyl, which is responsible for the majority of overdose deaths in the U.S. originated as a prescription drug, so we understand what it does and overdoses can often be reversed if enough NARCAN is administered quickly enough. The effects of these dangerous street drugs are often unpredictable. Some were specifically prohibited for human use. Many are toxic to the brain or liver.
- They are cheap and often readily available.
Most of these dangerous street drugs are cheap and easy to find. That unfortunately makes them attractive to young people or people who are addicted to other drugs but can no longer afford their “drug of choice”. These drugs are made in simple laboratories that can be set up almost anywhere. Because they generally don’t require difficult to smuggle, illegal plant materials to make, they are easier to produce and distribute. This is part of the reason why they were able to reach even rural communities relatively quickly, much the way methamphetamine did.
- They have unpredictable compound effects when combined with other drugs.
Most of the dangerous street drugs on our list are either powerful sedatives or stimulants. They not only have unusual and unpredictable effects, but they also have the compound effect that most CNS depressants and stimulants do. Meaning that they can exponentially magnify the effects of other, similar drugs. For example, many overdose deaths associated with opioids are due to the combining of opioids with another CNS depressant like benzodiazepine or xylazine. Even experienced drug users can get in over their heads with these combinations.
- They are often mixed with other drugs without people knowing.
According to the DEA, as much as 35-40% of the supply of street heroin in some cities is actually tranq (heroin mixed with xylazine. Cathinones (bath salts) are also cheap to manufacture so they can be found in everything from fake Adderall pills to allegedly pure molly (MDMA). These dangerous street drug mixtures make overdoses and other medical emergencies even more likely.
What You Need To Know About Xylazine (Tranq)
Xylazine is an animal tranquilizer, but it was specifically prohibited for human use around the world due to its difficult-to-predict effects. This dangerous street drug is most often found mixed with heroin and the mixture is called tranq.
Not only does tranq make overdose deaths more likely due to the compound effects of two different, powerful CNS depressants working together — but it isn’t an opioid, so NARCAN cannot reverse the effects. Oh, it also causes horrific wounds from tissue necrosis when it’s injected. It rapidly kills any human tissue inside the body that’s exposed to it.
What You Need To Know About K2 & Spice
These drugs go by many different names. They were once even sold commonly in gas stations and bodegas, though the majority are banned now. Essentially most of them are synthetic cannabinoids. That is a poorly synthesized chemical designed to mimic the active ingredients in marijuana. They are known to create unpredictable side effects including dizziness, nausea, paranoia, and psychosis.
What You Need To Know About Bath Salts, Monkey Dust and Flakka
Many of the newer, stimulant-type street drugs that were designed to skirt loopholes in drug laws are in the category called cathinones. Cathinone is the active ingredient in the Middle Eastern drug khat. Synthetic cathinone compounds are typically crystalline and granular (hence the “bath salts” name).
Drugs in this category not only have powerful, stimulant effects like rapid heartbeat but also cause confusion, panic attacks, hallucinations, and even heart attacks or strokes. They simply aren’t like any other drug most people have experienced before. One of the most common types of synthetic cathinone is 10 times more potent than cocaine.
Achieve Wellness and Recovery Has Solutions For Addiction
If your loved one is in the fight of their lives with drugs or alcohol — Achieve Wellness and Recovery can help. We’re only a phone call away.
If you have questions about street drugs like tranq or xylazine or want to know more about addiction treatment in NJ, we’re ready to talk. Achieve Wellness and Recovery is dedicated to providing a safe place where people can heal and recover from addiction and live better lives.
Get the substance use disorder treatment in New Jersey your loved one deserves. Give Achieve Wellness and Recovery a call at (833) 680-0142
You can also click here to find out how our program can work with your insurance.