- Article SummaryPrint
- The United States
- Drug Scheduling
- Designer Drugs from the 1990s to the 2000s
- 2005 to Present
- Safety Measures
- Common Designer Drugs
There are many illegal drugs that have been recognized around the world. In the United States, the DEA controls which drugs are illegal, need a prescription, or can be bought over-the-counter. Illegal drugs fall under a number of regulations and laws that prevent their sale, distribution, and consumption within the country’s borders. Even though these laws are in place, there are many ways to create and use drugs that are not yet included in these laws. These drugs are called designer drugs, research drugs, or research chemicals.
Designer drugs, often found online as research chemicals, are not regulated by the law in many instances. These are sold as powders instead of pills, and they are sometimes labeled “not for human consumption” in order to avoid breaking the law and being prosecuted. Sometimes, these chemicals will be sold under the idea that they are for study or for research with animal testing or other methods. Because these drugs are not well-known or monitored, it is more likely for chemical errors to occur. This can lead to accidental deaths and overdoses.
Designer drugs are specifically made to fit around existing drug laws. These drugs can either be new forms of older illicit drugs or could be completely new chemical formulas that are created to fall outside of the law. The most common designer drugs are created by making a derivative of an existing drug’s chemical structure. This variation allows the drug to have similar effects as the illicit drugs, but the drugs will not fall under the correct formula for many drug laws. If you or someone you know would like more information about new and designer drugs, contact our free, 24-hour hotline at 1-800-928-9139.
The United States
"In the United States, illicit drugs and their potential damage has caused the creation of laws that prohibit the sale, use, and distribution of the drugs in the country."
In the United States, illicit drugs and their potential damage has caused the creation of laws that prohibit the sale, use, and distribution of the drugs in the country. Sales of illegal drugs outside of the country or the purchase of illegal drugs for use in the country is prohibited. Designer drugs fall outside of these laws, allowing them to be used without any direct illegal consequences. Some of the earliest forms of designer drugs were derivatives of opium. Opiates such as morphine and heroin were banned in the 1920’s, which lead to a number of variations of heroin that had similar effects. These drugs were not recognized by the International Opium Convention, so it was impossible to immediately control the substances. When this occurred, lawmakers had to reevaluate the language of the Convention, changing it to include a number of derivatives of the opiate drugs. This language helped stop the spread of new opiate chemical compounds at the time, and it is still used to prevent illegal opiate sales and use today. For more information on the International Opium Convention and similar laws and rulings, contact our hotline at 1-800-928-9139. Our hotline is available at any time, so you can get the information you need.
Other synthetic drugs have been created that have been unrecognized by laws in the past. Some of these designer drugs included synthetic hallucinogens. A similar illegal drug to the synthetic hallucinogen is LSD, a prohibited illicit drug. PCP was created in the 1970s, as well.
In the 80s, ecstasy, a now illicit and prohibited drug, was introduced. Because of the potentially fatal effects of the fentanyl and meperidine that could be found in this and similar drugs, the U.S. government had to discuss a way to manage illicit drugs. This resulted in a number of laws, some including those that allow the DEA emergency scheduling control over drugs while they are being researched and identified.
Drug scheduling, which is completed by the DEA, helps identify a number of drugs based on their uses in medicine. A drug is placed on a schedule according to whether it is possible to be used in medications or if it has no medical purpose. The DEA’s schedule is used only for controlled substances. For more information about drug scheduling and to learn which drugs fall under each schedule, contact our hotline at 1-800-928-9139.
Schedule I Drugs
Schedule I drugs are accepted as having no medical use for treatments in the United States. If a drug has been placed as a Schedule I, then it may not be taken, dispensed, or prescribed for medical purposes. These drugs are recognized as having a high potential for abuse and are have been determined to be dangerous for use (or to have undetermined results) in medical situations.Some Schedule I drugs include:
- Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD)
- 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (Ecstasy)
Schedule I drugs are incredibly dangerous and can lead to severe dependencies, both physical and mental. If you or a loved one would like more information about Schedule I drugs and their potential for abuse, contact our 24-hour hotline at1-800-928-9139. Our hotline can give you information on rehabilitation and detoxification clinics near you.
Schedule II Drugs
Schedule II drugs include narcotics. These substances can lead to severe psychological or physical dependencies, and they are considered to have a high potential for abuse. These drugs have some medical uses, so they are controlled by prescription and are monitored. Some Schedule II drugs include:
There are also drugs found under Schedule III, IV, and V. These drugs have less potential for abuse than Schedule I or II, but they are still controlled substances. A low physical or psychological dependency may be possible on Schedule III, IV, and V. Even though the potential for abuse is less, if you or someone you know expects a dependency has occurred, contact our hotline at 1-800-928-9139 to get more information about treatment centers near you. Some drugs in the Schedule III, IV, and V charts include:
Schedule III Drugs
- Tylenol with codeine
- Anabolic steroids
Schedule IV Drugs
Schedule V Drugs
- Robitussin AC
- Phenergan with Codeine
Designer Drugs from the 1990s to the 2000s
Due to the rapid growth of the Internet, designer drug sales grew rapidly in the 90s and 2000s. These drugs were sometimes referred to as “research drugs” or “research chemicals” to avoid the U.S. drug laws, but this did not prevent the DEA from making arrests. In 2004, ten individuals were arrested when the DEA completed Operation Web Tryp. The purpose of this operation was to identify and investigate the sales of drugs from websites that could include unscheduled substances, phenethylamines, and unregulated tryptamines. To learn more about Operation Web Tryp or what is considered a designer drug, contact us at 1-800-928-9139 at any time.
A total of five different sites were included in Operation Web Tryp. These included omegafinechemicals.com, americanchemicalsupply.com, pondman.nu, racresearch.com, and Duncanlabproducts.com. Pondman.nu and americanchemicalsupply.com were both linked to the deaths of customers, as well as fourteen other overdoses that were not fatal. Outside of the United States, the British police used information from the DEA to track down and charge UK citizens who had purchased drugs from these sites.
Anabolic steroids became popular in this timeframe as well. These drugs were used by many athletes, but they were unable to be monitored due to the lack of information against the drugs and the inability of drug tests to identify the new anabolic agents. A designer drug called tetrahydrogesterinone (THG) was created to avoid new anabolic steroid tests, and it was, at the time, undetectable.
2005 to Present
Due to the Internet and other methods of communication, the 2000s have seen the growth of designer drugs outside of opioids, hallucinogens, and steroids. Some “legal” alternatives to cannabis have been created from sister plants and those of similar construction. It is important to note that none of these research chemicals have been properly tested for their safety.
Although they are referred to as research chemicals, these drugs have little to no research completed on their toxicology or pharmacology. Unlike the drugs used in the past, designer chemicals can be synthetic compounds that have never been used before. These drugs have the likelihood to produce effects that are unknown or unexpected. For example, mephedrone has some chemical mechanisms that can lead to vasoconstriction. This, along with accidental overdoses and the potentially dangerous side effects can lead to death.
Research chemicals are often mixed by the buyer, so the potential for error is high. Overdoses and lethal mixtures can be created accidentally. For more information on the dangers of designer drugs used for human consumption, contact our hotline at 1-800-928-9139.
Common Designer Drugs
There are many designer drugs that have been identified in the United States and around the world. These are found in a number of different categories, including opioids, dissociatives, stimulants, hallucinogens, and others. The following is a list of some of the many designer drugs. For a full list or more information on where to learn about designer drugs, contact us at 1-800-928-9139.
- CP 47,497
- MDPV, Methylenedioxypyrovalerone
Designer drugs are simply variations on drugs that already exist in most cases. The dangers of designer drugs come from the illegal combination and administration of the drugs that have not be properly researched or studied for toxicology or pharmacological research. These drugs are specifically designed to avoid and fall outside of the laws of the DEA in the United States. These drugs have similar effects to the originals, although they do have a different chemical makeup. The variation of the chemical structure allows the drug to be temporarily used and created without the fear or expectation of criminal charges since it does not fall under any current regulations.
Designer drugs are simply variations on drugs that already exist in most cases. The dangers of designer drugs come from the illegal combination and administration of the drugs that have not be properly researched or studied for toxicology or pharmacological research.
Although these drugs often do not fall under regulations, the DEA has been given the power to temporarily schedule a drug that it is investigating. During an investigation, the drug is likely to be scheduled as a Schedule I drug, which prohibits its use, sale, and distribution in the United States. If a parent drug such as heroin was used, it is likely that the DEA can file charges against the new drug’s creator. This is possible because the original illegal drug would have to have been in possession (in many cases) to create the new synthetic drug.
Designer drugs have been being created since before the 1920s. The United States government has a strong stance against these drugs and has completed operations against the sale and use of illegal compounds from the Internet and other sources. These drugs are often recognized early and placed onto a schedule before they are well-known on the market. Once the drugs are registered as a Schedule I, II, III, IV, or V drug, it is unlikely that it will be removed from the list. There has only been one exception out of the 180 or more drugs that are currently listed on the chart.
Creating, selling, or taking designer drugs is still potentially harmful and can lead to criminal charges. Any drug or alcohol synthesis that uses a base that is illegal is likely to lead to jail time, community service, or other punishments. If you or someone you know may be involved in drug creation, sales, or if the drugs are being used for recreational purposes, contact our 24-hour hotline at 1-800-928-9139. Our hotline is available at any time, so you can get the information you need on therapy, treatment, psychological or physical dependencies, or other drug- or alcohol-related items.