The market for designer drugs is constantly changing, with new designer drugs popping up all the time. With no federal regulations or safety standards for production, many producers of the drugs regularly modify the ingredients to evade the law.
What Are Designer Drugs?
The National Institute on Drug Abuse defines “designer drugs” as man-made drugs that are created in a laboratory by using chemistry to change the properties of a drug that comes from a plant.1 The resulting synthetic drug typically has different effects than the one it is designed to mimic. K2, for example, is a synthetic form of plant-based marijuana and it affects users very differently.
If you have a loved one who is abusing drugs, it is helpful to know about the dangerous or new designer drugs on the market that they could potentially use and suffer ill effects from. The following substances are three designer drugs you should be aware of.
Although it is not a new designer drug, Bromo-benzodifuranyl-isopropylamine, commonly referred to as Bromo-DragonFLY, has a very short history of human usage. This designer drug is known for its high potency, long-lasting effects, and a high number of related hospitalizations and deaths.2
A very potent and unpredictable drug, Bromo-DragonFLY was first synthesized in 1998 but very little is known about its toxicity in humans and how it is metabolized in the human body. It is a synthetic hallucinogen, but in comparison to other hallucinogens, Bromo-DragonFLY is much stronger. In fact, its effects can last up to three days after initial ingestion.
Bromo-DragonFLY Street Names
Side Effects of Bromo-DragonFLY
The effects of Bromo-DragonFLY are extremely unpredictable, but in short, they limit the amount of oxygen that travels to the heart and the body. It comes is powder, liquid, and blotter form, and regardless of how it is ingested, any use of the drug is dangerous.
Hallucinogens like Bromo-DragonFLY typically interfere with serotonin, a chemical that is naturally found in the body, which affects the user’s mood, sensory perception, body temperature, muscle control, sleep, hunger, and sexual behavior.3
Although unpredictable, some reported side effects of Bromo-DragonFLY include:
- Confusion/disorganized thoughts
- Heart problems
The use and abuse of hallucinogen drugs are risky in general, particularly if the abuser or his or her family has a history of schizophrenia or psychotic disorders. A history of these disorders may increase a Bromo-DragonFLY user’s risk of experiencing psychosis.
Methoxetamine, or MXE, is a dissociative hallucinogen that was originally developed to be distributed on the grey market.6 Other drugs in the same family of compounds have been historically used for anesthesia, but MXE was always meant to be used recreationally.
MXE is produced as a white powder and may be consumed orally, snorted, inserted into the rectum, or injected into a muscle with a needle. A single dose may be anywhere between 5 mg and 90 mg, and the effects set in quickly, so taking any additional doses, or large doses can be particularly dangerous and may cause an overdose.7
MXE is not a scheduled drug in the United States, however, a 2015 bill was introduced to Congress in an effort to make MXE a Schedule I substance. Despite the lack of federal regulation, MXE is illegal to buy, sell, or possess in Florida, Utah, and Alabama.6
MXE Street Names
- M-Ket (also written as M Ket)
- K-Max (also written as K Max or KMaxx)
- Mexxy (also written as Mexy or Mexxi)
Side Effects of MXE
Chemically, MXE is related to other designer drugs like ketamine and PCP and it provides similar effects. Although it is often touted as being safer than ketamine, which is known to cause severe bladder problems, there is no evidence to support that claim.
Side effects of MXE, especially high doses of it, can be very unpredictable, but commonly reported side effects of MXE include:
- Extreme euphoria
- A feeling of detachment from the world
- Involuntary eye movement
- Loss of balance
- Poor coordination
- Catatonia (being awake but unresponsive)7,8
3. Benzo Fury
Benzo Fury is a party drug that is common in the U.S. and Britain. It was banned in the UK in 2014 and is a controlled substance in several U.S. states. Benzo Fury usually contains the substances 6-ABP or 5-ABP, which are stimulants that are similar to amphetamines and ecstasy.9,10
Although like all designer drugs, Benzo Fury can be unpredictable and dangerous, many people continue to abuse the drug for its pleasurable effects of euphoria, empathy, excitement, and increased energy.
Benzo Fury is produced in several different forms, including brown or white powder and multi-colored tablets or capsules. Most often, the drug is swallowed or snorted, but some users may roll it up in cigarette paper and swallow it.
Benzo Fury Street Names
- White Pearl
- Benzo Fury
Side Effects of Benzo Fury
The side effects of Benzo Fury may be unpredictable and can reportedly last up to 14 hours, although the user typically begins to feel them within two to three hours of taking the drug.
Commonly reported side effects of Benzo Fury include:
- Increased heart rate
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased body temperature
- Chest pain
- Heart palpitations
- Problems urinating
- Liver damage
- Poor concentration
- Impaired short-term memory11
Other Frequently Abused Designer Drugs
Aside from these three designer drugs, there are many others that are frequently abused in the U.S. Some designer drugs are more common than others, such as ecstasy and methamphetamine, as they may be easier to obtain and use.
Some of the most commonly abused designer drugs are:
Safe and Effective Designer Drug Detox
Since it’s impossible to know exactly what ingredients a designer drug is made with, designer drug detox can often be unpredictable, dangerous, or even deadly. Additionally, due to the lack of research on many designer drugs, it’s difficult to effectively and safely detox at home.
As a result, it’s always safest to detox from designer drugs in a detox center with medical supervision. Trained detox professionals can ensure that you are safe throughout the duration of withdrawal and that any uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms are treated with medications that reduce or eliminate them.
Once you have completed drug detox, you can continue your treatment with drug rehab, which will help you tackle the behavioral, cognitive, and social issues that contribute to your drug abuse or addiction.
Unfortunately, designer drug detox alone will do little to curb your drug abuse behaviors. Continued treatment with a residential or outpatient rehab program will provide the behavioral therapy, recovery support services, and accountability necessary to overcome your designer drug addiction.
Get Help for Designer Drug Addiction
Despite the many dangers of these three designer drugs (and others), people will always experiment with various drugs, especially young people. Additionally, addiction is a complex disease, and although an addict may know that a drug is physically harmful, he or she may not be able to resist the temptation of one more high. It may not make logical sense to friends and loved ones, but being aware of the harmful physical effects of designer drugs may be motivation help educate the drug abuser about addiction treatment options that can help.