Synthetic and new drugs-Fast facts for schools
Like fashion trends, synthetic drugs may seem popular one day then out of favour the next. A small percentage of the calls to YoDAA are concerning synthetic drugs – usually synthetic cannabis.
Synthetics are not one type of drug but a general term for substances that are designed to mimic or produce similar effects to common illicit drugs such as cocaine, ecstasy, cannabis, heroin and LSD. Despite the fact that many are also called legal highs, many of these chemicals are illegal in Victoria.
NEDs (new and emerging drugs), NPSs (new psychoactive substances), legal highs, research chemicals, plant food, bath salts (Flakka), cathinones, phenethylamines, tryptamines, mephedrone (meow, miaow-miaow), NBOMe, synthetic cocaine (white bull), herbal highs, or herbal incense.
Synthetic Cannabis is known as spice, Kronic, X, tai high Hawaiian haze, Amsterdam gold, black mamba, Blue lotus
HOW COMMON IS USE?
Since we are not talking about one drug here rates of use are hard to describe. Like fashion trends, synthetic drugs may seem popular one day then out of favour the next. A small percentage of the calls to YoDAA are concerning synthetic drugs – usually synthetic cannabis.
In our experience, young people often use synthetic drugs because of ease of availability and if they (often mistakenly) believe they are not illegal but many also find the side effects of these substances outweigh the benefits and with time, they lose their appeal.
HOW CAN I TELL IF A YOUNG PERSON IS USING?
Signs to look out for will depend on the substance that the synthetic is designed to mimic. For example a young person using synthetic cocaine may appear more alert and talkative whilst a young person using synthetic cannabis may appear slower and glassy eyed.
It is tempting to want to know what they have used however we cannot be 100% sure of what is in drugs these days. Therefore if a young person is distressed, overheating, or acting in a way that is concerning it is best to treat the symptom.