Common Designer Drugs

In today’s society, the kinds of substances that flood the streets are extremely dangerous. With many of these substances being manmade, it is impossible to determine just what ingredients are mixed with drugs such as ecstasy, ketamine, and GHB. These substances, which are all popular designer drugs, can produce severe effects to one’s mind and body and can lead to an untimely death when abused.

According to the Global Information Network About Drugs (GINAD), designer drugs are most commonly abused by people between 21 and 30 years of age. Additionally, in the first four months of 2011, there were 1,782 calls to poison control centers in the United States in reference to the designer drug bath salts. In the prior year, only 302 calls about this drug were made in total. Since then, more designer drugs have been developed, and more individuals are using them recreationally.

It is important to understand that even one-time use of a designer drug can completely and entirely alter one’s life. In fact, it can even cost an individual his or her life. The reason behind this is that since designer drugs are synthetic, they can contain a number of different substances based on what the developer decided to cut his or her product with.

One way to prevent the growth of designer drug abuse is to educate people about these drugs and the dangers that come with abusing them.

What are the Most Common Designer Drugs?


Ecstasy, which is the nickname for the substance 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, is a synthetic substance that is also known as MDMA. Despite popular belief, ecstasy, MDMA, and Molly are all street names for this substance. They are not their own separate substances.

Since the 1970’s, ecstasy has remained a nightclub staple. Today, it is continually abused in clubs, but also at raves and festivals. This drug is often sought after for is hallucinatory effects, as well as its ability to enhance one’s physical and sexual experiences. When under the influence of ecstasy, the following effects can occur:

Increased energy

  • Extreme euphoria
  • No sense of time
  • Increased alertness
  • More focus
  • Greater pleasure from physical touch

Additionally, people who are under the influence of ecstasy are also known for experiencing feelings of overall well-being and empathy. Sadly, one of the most dangerous effects of ecstasy is a decrease in desire for basic human needs. In many instances, people become dehydrated while on ecstasy, which can lead to death.

The side effects associated with ecstasy are not that pleasurable. They include the following:


  • Fever
  • Muscle cramps
  • Sweats and chills
  • Hallucinations
  • Tremors
  • Blurry vision
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Grinding one’s jaw

Ecstasy is a dangerous designer drug that can cause a fatal overdose when abused. There is no clinical indication for the use of ecstasy.

designer drugs


Methamphetamine is easily one of the most popular designer drugs available. This stimulant-based substance is often cooked up in labs throughout the country and then sold to the public. Because this is how this drug is made, there is truly no way of knowing exactly what other substances meth might contain.

Methamphetamine, also known as meth, can be consumed by smoking, swallowing, snorting, or through injection. However, no matter how it is consumed, the effects are still the same – and they are very dangerous.

People are drawn to methamphetamine because of the instant high it produces. When under the influence, individuals experience a strong release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that produces a sense of pleasure and reward. However, being under the influence can also include the following:

Increased body temperature

  • Faster breathing
  • Decreased appetite
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Increased energy

Meth is one of the most destructive substances of abuse, as is not only destroys one’s outward appearance, but it also causes severe negative impacts on the body and brain. Long-term use of meth can cause the following:

Bloodborne diseases like HIV and hepatitis

  • Severe weight loss
  • Skin sores and tooth decay
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Aggression
  • Hallucinations

Continued abuse of meth has also proven to affect parts of the brain that are responsible for memory and emotions. Meth users can also struggle with cognition.


GHB, the abbreviation for gamma hydroxybutyric acid, is another popular designer drug that is often used on the club scene. GHB is a central nervous system depressant and produces feelings of relaxation when abused. However, sometimes it can cause someone to become too relaxed, leading to the inability to move or stay conscious. When taken in smaller doses, it can act as a stimulant and produce feelings of energy and euphoria.

When someone is taking GHB, he or she can experience some or all of the effects below:


  • Dizziness
  • Poor motor control
  • Lowered inhibitions
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Memory loss
  • Unconsciousness
  • Incoherent speech
  • Agitation

As with many other designer drugs, abusing GHB can be deadly, as this drug is capable of causing an overdose.


Ketamine is a very strong anesthetic that is often used for veterinary purposes. However, this drug (also known as Special K) is a common designer drug. Available in white powder, pills, or liquid, ketamine produces dissociative effects, as well as hallucinations.

Since ketamine is an anesthetic, those who abuse it can experience respiratory depression and temporary paralysis. Because of these effects, this substance is often used as a date rape drug.

The effects that an individual can experience while abusing ketamine include the following:


  • Dissociation
  • Memory loss
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Mood swings
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Slow physical movement
  • Disorientation

If an individual continues to abuse ketamine, he or she can suffer some longer-term effects, such as bladder and urinary tract damage. He or she can also experience severe injuries from an inability to control his or her bodily movements while under the influence.

Other common designer drugs include bath salts, synthetic marijuana, Rohypnol (another popular date rape drug) and LSD.

Getting Help For Designer Drug Abuse

It can be simple to get caught up in designer drug abuse, especially if your peers are using it, too. However, abusing these substances can cost you your life, put you in significant danger, or even cause you to act in ways that could lead to criminal punishment.

Thankfully, there is treatment for designer drug abuse and addiction. If you or someone you care about is abusing designer drugs like ecstasy, ketamine, GHB, or meth, there is help available. Do not allow one more day to pass you or your loved one by.

Contact us right now. We can help you overcome any challenges that you might be facing in regards to your designer drug abuse. We are here to help you get back to living a happy, healthy life free from substance abuse.

The Addiction Blog