Designer Drugs: Personal and social consequences
Last modified: Saturday, 30. May 2009 - 3:06 pm
So-called designer drugs have a particularly glamorous appeal, marketed by dealers as safe, non-addictive, fun drugs that carry minimal risks to the user. This is not now, nor has it ever been, the case.
All drug use has built-in disadvantages that handicap the user. Drugs have a way of reshaping lives to accommodate their use. People who decide they want to experiment or “have a little fun” with any of the drugs covered in this Overview
may discover somewhere down the line that their relationships, particularly with non-drug users, have changed — some irrevocably. Academic or work-related pursuits may seem less important, and may suffer as a result. Family members may be neglected.
With addictive substances such as methamphetamine, the dangers of use are more pronounced. Even those who claim not to have a problem with recreational, or what might be termed occasional, use of drugs might be kidding themselves. The low that follows a euphoric high can make the rest of the user’s life seem dull and depressing when compared to a drug-enhanced state. The allure of recapturing a feeling of euphoria that has suddenly deserted other aspects of their “real” lives may be prove too enticing to pass by, and result in dependence or addiction.
Repeated use of certain drugs brings about dramatic changes in both the structure and function of the brain. The euphoric effect derived from their use is itself a sign that the drug or drugs are changing the chemical wiring in the brain. As it adjusts to the imbalances being inflicted upon it, the user needs more of the drug to recapture the high. In a shorter span of time than many realize, this change becomes more pronounced and indelible, until finally the individual has become addicted to the drug.
The hallucinatory potential of many controlled substance analogs (MDMA, GHB, ketamine, PCP) may trigger traumatic emotional episodes in many users. While there is little evidence to support the claim that drug use can cause long-term psychotic or schizophrenic behaviors, individuals with an underlying mental condition may find their experimentation with so-called designer drugs triggers an outbreak of symptoms associated with mental illness. Anecdotal evidence suggests that psychotic breaks and schizophrenia-like symptoms are far more frequent with heavy or regular dissociative anesthetic use (including ketamine and PCP).