Why Are Synthetic Drugs So Dangerous?

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Synthetic drugs such as “bath salts,” “K2” or “Spice” have made unsettling headlines lately, with reports of violent, erratic behavior and deaths after people have used the substances. Why are these synthesized drugs so dangerous, and why aren’t there more regulations? In this week’s Reactions, we answer these questions by examining the chemistry of two kinds of synthetic drugs: bath salts and synthetic marijuana.

*Correction: While Kratom is a plant, and not synthetic, it is listed as a Drug and Chemical of Concern by the DEA, and is marketed as a synthetic drug at gas stations and other vendors.



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