In a study done by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, synthetic drugs were found to be most popular among teenagers and young adults. When it comes to illicit drug use among high-school seniors, synthetic drugs rank second only to marijuana use and they are nearly twice as likely to be abused by men as women.
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According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, synthetic drugs include any substance that aims to mimic the effects of illegal chemicals and may contain stimulant, depressant or hallucinogenic properties.
Sold in convenience stores, head shops and widely accessible online, these illicit drugs are often regarded as a “legal high” by buyers, sellers and users. Frequent product name changes, indirect labeling and the use of untested, often undetectable chemicals make synthetics particularly dangerous. Continued alterations in the chemical compounds of synthetic drugs tend to keep manufacturers one step ahead of legal action.
Synthetic drugs are typically found as either synthetic cannabinoids, sometimes referred to as synthetic marijuana, or synthetic cathinones, more commonly known as bath salts. Currently, there are well over 150 different names and forms of synthetic drugs.