Although you might not be aware of what research chemicals are, we are currently experiencing a rising risk of abuse of these chemicals in the US and the world at large. Research chemicals are psychoactive drugs that are discovered through the research of and experimentation on existing drugs. Existing drugs are researched and experimented with so scientists can better understand their structure, activity, general behavior, interactions and side effects. Studying existing drugs in labs can further our collective knowledge of a substance and help to save lives in the future. However, this research can modify existing drugs to yield what are commonly referred to as “designer drugs.”
These designer drugs often have similar effects as the drug that was originally researched, but the chemical structure of the designer drug is usually different from that of the initial drug. This distinction is key – where one original drug might be illegal and known to be dangerous, for instance, a designer drug might gain popularity because it is not technically the same drug as the original drug and therefore, in some jurisdictions, it is not technically illegal.
The term “research chemicals,” which was once just clever marketing jargon, has muddled the issue further. The term might seem scientific and safe by association to users when the drugs are anything but. Meanwhile, the term might throw off law enforcement agents or others who are under the impression that research chemicals are somehow different from designer drugs.
Research chemicals are designed to be potent. They act in a specific way on the brain, inducing hallucinations, feelings of pleasure, relaxation, or stimulation very quickly. Dangerous side effects last for a long time, with little understanding of how long the chemicals will bind to receptors in the brain, or how they are metabolized out of the body.
While many new synthetic drugs – sometimes called new psychoactive substances, or NPSs – have received a great deal of media attention in the past few years, the research chemicals these drugs are based on are not new. Still, the widespread production and distribution of these substances specifically for dangerous recreational abuse is a new problem facing the United States.
Signs of Abuse
There is no one sure way to identify the abuse of research chemicals and designer drugs. Because these drugs are designed so that they, in some cases, mimic existing drugs of all types and, in other cases, behave independently of any original drug, signs and symptoms of use and abuse of these drugs vary widely. However, one way to help identify the abuse of research chemicals is to become familiar with the signs and symptoms of the drugs they are closely related to as well as with the known designer drugs on the market as the information becomes available. There are broad signs of drug abuse at large though that might help you to identify the abuse of one of these drugs. Be sure to watch for:
-Changes in appearance
-Changes in behavior
-Changes in performance at work or school
-A decreased interest in drug-free activities
-Changes in mood
-Social changes that might involve new friendships
-Changes in energy levels
-Changes in affection
-Sudden financial stress
Just like any other addiction, an addiction to research chemicals or designer drugs can be successfully treated. Often, dual diagnosis care may be needed if the abuse issue co-occurs with other mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, a personality disorder, or an eating disorder. If you or your loved one has struggled with abuse of these dangerous drugs, get the help you need today. Call now for more information about how our comprehensive treatment options can help.