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4 Emerging Drug Trends You Should Know About

While heroin, cocaine and marijuana are all still popular drugs, there are several drugs growing in popularity in the United States. Drug abusers are finding these drugs preferable to the old stand-bys because they are often cheaper and easier to obtain.

Bath Salts

Quick Facts:

  • Bath Salts can make the user irrational and violent
  • The chemical composition varies
  • Bath salt users tend to range from six to 59 years old

This drug is not to be confused with the type of salts you add to your bathtub water. Bath salts – also known as Blizzard, Charge+, Ivory Snow, Blue Silk and many other names – have been splashing around in headlines for a while now. This drug is a chemical concoction designed to mimic the effects of other drugs such as methamphetamine, cocaine, LSD and ecstasy. The exact chemicals used to make it vary, though the bath salts often contain methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MPDV), mephedrone and pyrovalerone according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. It is inhaled, injected or swallowed as powders and pills. One of the reasons this drug is so popular is because it can be bought through gas stations and head shops. This is because the drug is labeled as “not for human consumption,” giving it a legal loophole, according to the Alliance for Consumer Education. Since this drug is so new, there is little known about it. According to the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, the long-term effects are depression, anxiety and intense cravings. Short-term side effects are agitation, extreme paranoia, high blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, chest pains, aggressive behaviors, hallucinations and delusions. Its side effects have been blamed for several “zombie-like” attacks. In December 2013, 1,000 pounds of bath salts and other designer drugs were seized in California.  In 2012, poison centers had 2,691 calls pertaining to bath salts according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers. To find recent data on bath salt related exposure, visit this spreadsheet.

Krokodil: Russia’s Most Dangerous Drug

Quick Facts:

  • 10 times more potent than morphine
  • Most commonly injected with a needle
  • Destroys veins and soft tissue, exposing bone
  • A more affordable alternative to heroin
  • Withdrawal is worse when compared to other drugs

Another “zombie drug” is desomorphine. Desomorphine, better known as Krokodil, has been around since 2002, but has just recently been introduced to the United States. This drug was once used medically in Switzerland. It became popular with drug abusers because it’s 10 times more potent than morphine and it is easy to make. Like heroin, this opiate-based drug can be injected into the bloodstream using a needle.

It gained its name, Krokodil, by how it transforms it user’s skin, making it green and scaly, much like a crocodile’s. Krokodil is also known as the Zombie Drug, because it kills a person from the inside out, leaving the user with rotted flesh. The drug initially begins destroying the veins and soft tissue of the body. Soon after, the body develops gangrene and necrosis. Skin, fat and muscle fall away from the body, exposing bone according to Information released October 2013 by the US Drug Enforcement Administration.  Often users will need amputation of an affected limb. Infected bones and even death is common for users of desomorphine. The 2013 European Drug Report by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction indicates the use of heroin is down in Europe. This may be because desomorphine has become a popular alternative to heroin since it is less expensive and is easily made from codeine. This drug has become very popular in Russia, in fact, it is believed around 100,000 Russians use Krokodil. Use in the United States is so new that there is no current data.

Molly: MDMA Powder

Quick Facts:

  • Mollies are made from the same ingredient used in Ecstasy
  • The candy-looking pill is also sold as a powder
  • Users of Molly are often between the ages of 12 and 17

A prominent pop singer unabashedly sang about her love of “Mollies” in 2013.  Until then, this drug wasn’t so widely talked about. Mollies are made from the same active ingredient as Ecstasy, but in a more refined, crystalline from. The ingredient is called 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine, or MDMA for short, and it causes strong hallucinations with a feeling of euphoria. MDMA isn’t the only ingredient of Molly. Typically, the powder is mixed with other synthetics like MDPV, Methylone, 4-MEC, Pentedrone, 4-MMC and MePP. Mollies are usually passed around at parties and clubs and look like colorful candies. In the summer of 2013, Mollies were blamed for four overdosing deaths. Some side effects are high blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, blood vessel constriction and sweating. For more information see 9 Things You Need to Know About Molly from CNN.


Quick Facts:

  • It is snorted or smoked
  • It takes three hours to work
  • Users claim the drug keeps them from getting tired

Another party drug gaining popularity is 2C-P, and it is said to be a much more powerful stimulant than Molly. Like Molly, it causes powerful hallucinations, but it’s so potent, many compare it to LSD. 2C-P is a particularly dangerous drug because it takes three hours for you to feel the full effects. Because of this, people often don’t think the drug is working, so they take more and sometimes overdose. For example, in 2013, several people collapsed at a concert almost simultaneously. Reportedly, the drug causes the body to overheat, while raising the user’s blood pressure and heart rate. This drug is believed to cause damage to the heart and brain. While these drugs may be fashionable, they are not to be toyed with. Spreading the word about the danger of these drugs may help lessen their reach and save lives. Note: The pictures in this content are being used for illustrative purposes only; and any person depicted in the content, if any, is a model.

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