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3 Synthetic Drugs You Should Know About

Designer drugs, or synthetic drugs, are substances made entirely from chemicals.

Technically, MDMA and methamphetamine are man-made in a laboratory, as compared to a marijuana plant that grows organically. But the term synthetic is meant to describe a new breed of chemical substances that are becoming more and more popular with the youth of today — bath salts and spice to name a few.

Why are they popular? Well one big reason is that many of these synthetic drugs are disguised, marketed and sold as household items, such as incense or plant food. Teenagers are drawn to synthetic “legal highs” for the accessibility, whether in-person or online. And the end result can be deadly, as many young adults don’t know what they’re actually putting in their bodies.

The other kind of bath salts became known around the world during the 2012 face-eating attack in Miami, Florida. The media painted a picture of a man who had turned into a zombie as a result of getting high on bath salts. And despite the toxicology report showing no signs of the synthetic, the story stuck. America was hooked by the fear and the fascination. On the nightly news we learned where bath salts are sold, and how easy it is to buy them.

Here are more synthetic drugs you should be aware of.

Meow Meow

This is the synthetic drug supposedly responsible for making a 19-year-old British guy stab his mother before cutting off his own penis in December of 2013. Yikes. Meow Meow, or mephedrone, is a synthetic amphetamine-class stimulant that produces similar effects to cocaine and MDMA. Mephedrone is categorized as a Schedule 1 drug in the U.S. Though more popular in Europe, there are still traces of Meow Meow in the U.S. In fact, you can purchase mephedrone as “garden fertilizer.”


Referred to as the new LSD, 2C-E is a psychedelic phenethylamine. The synthetic drug is known to have strong hallucinogenic and entactogenic properties, which can last up to 10-12 hours. Similar to the bath salts story, 2C-E hit the media spotlight when it was blamed for one death and several hospitalized overdoses in Blaine, Minnesota. 2C-E is categorized as a Schedule 1 drug in the U.S., yet online vendors still push the prohibited synthetic.

Benzo Fury

The former “legal high” is now banned in the U.S. under a temporary 12-month class drug order that took effect in June of 2013. Benzo Fury is a street name for 6-APB/5-APB, a man-made amphetamine compound similar in structure to MDMA. The stimulant is known to produce similar effects to ecstasy or speed, ranging from euphoria to paranoia. Government intervention is a result of a high-profile Benzo-related death in the UK.