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Designer and look-alike drugs
Designer drugs • Designer drugs refers to the compounds produced in underground laboratories • Designer drugs refers to the alterations of existing drugs whose chemical structure is modified to mimic the effect of the parent drug. • Designer drugs are also called analogues or variations of hallucinogenic drugs.
Attractions of designer drugs in the society • One of their attractions relates to the fact that they are analogues and therefore can produce effects similar to those of controlled substances but they themselves may not be controlled by the government authorities.
Two components of designer drugs • MDA (Methylenedioxyamphetamine) » refers to a methamphetamine and mescaline analogue that produces a mild euphoria. » was declared an illegal drug after being used for recreational purposes
• MDMA (Methylenedioxymethamphetamine) » is also called ecstasy » refers to an analogue similar to mescaline and methamphetamine, but differs in its effects in the human body. » is criminalized in all countries in the world under a UN agreement, and its possession, manufacture, or sale may result in criminal prosecution.
Effects of MDA • MDA was called the "love drug" and was alleged to stand for “Mellow Drug of America” in the 1960 s because of its effects such as euphoria and empathogen/entactogen effects. • This drug stimulates the central nervous system and causes hallucinogenic effects.
Effects of MDMA • It is thought that MDMA enhances dopamine release and interacts with serotonin thus producing a rewarding physical sensation and simultaneously alters mood. Because MDMA is only partially fat soluble, its initial effects tend to be delayed in comparison to the more rapid physical effects of marijuana or LSD. The drug can elevate mood and enhance intimacy but it has also induced stimulant-like side effects such as anxiety, panic, shaking, increased heart rate and paranoid thinking.
Overdosage • An overdose can cause heart arrhythmias*, high blood pressure and seizures. The medical treatment of the overdose effects of MDMA is concentrates mainly on the symptoms of stimulant overdose. *Heart arrhythmias refers to the condition wherein the heart of a person beats too fast or too slow due to abnormal electrical activity.
Look-alike drugs are combinations of substances such as ephedrine, caffeine and phenylpropanolamine that are promoted by dealers as being safe and harmless. They are available as over-the -counter preparations and therefore are not subject to being controlled substances.
Look-alike drugs • Look-alike drugs mimic the action of controlled substances such as amphetamines but are available without prescription as overthe-counter preparations. They emerged in the 1970 s when controls were placed on amphetamines by the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. Drug manufacturers circumvented this legislation by marketing amphetamine look-alikes. The most common formulation of look-alikes include caffeine, ephedrine and phenylpropanolamine
Formulations of look-alike drugs • Phenylpropanolamine refers to the common ingredient in overthe-counter diet pills Ephedrine is commonly found in asthma, hay fever, sinusitis and related anti-allergy preparations Caffeine is a bitter white crystalline xanthine that acts as a psychoactive stimulant drug and a mild diuretic in humans and other animals.
Look-alike drugs in the society • In 1982 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the sale of the triple combination of caffeine, ephedrine and phenylpropanolamine. This federal and related state statues prohibited the marketing of these look-alikes whose packaging appeared to look like amphetamines. The drug industry countered by removing one of the three stimulants and legally continued their sale. There is presently a federal law that limits look-alikes to contain no more than one active ingredient. 30 New products called act-alikes, harmless speed and OTC uppers have been marketed to young users as the "new" look-alikes or as safe "speed, " "uppers" and "downers. " They are sold under names such as co-caine, Toot, and pseudo-speed and are promoted by drug dealers as being legal and harmless. One of the most disturbing aspects of these substances is there marketing to young people who are introduced to their first use of drugs through these substances. Manufacturers typically advertise these drugs in magazines, college newspapers and through mail-order companies.
Effects of look-alike drugs • Both ephedrine and phenylpropanolamine are structurally similar to amphetamine and affect the sympathetic nervous system by releasing norepinephrine from their storage sites. In addition they elevate blood pressure, pulse rate and dilate the bronchial tubes. Psychological effects include euphoria and increased alertness. Large doses of ephedrine can over stimulate the central nervous system causing psychosis, hallucinations and craving for the drug. • One of the most hazardous side effects of inhalants is the development of hypertension at doses of 85 mg. Significant hypertension also results when these substances are used in combination with anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin.