New drugs and drug use trends often come on the scene rapidly. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Community Epidemiology Work Group (CEWG) is a network of researchers in major metropolitan areas and some states across the United States that reports data on emerging trends and patterns in drug use. Two of these drug trends have recently hit local news outlets.
Molly, NIDA explain,s is slang for “molecular” which refers to the pure crystalline powder form of the club drug usually purchased in capsules, and has seen a surge in interest in the past few years. The main ingredient is a synthetic methamphetamine that has both stimulant and hallucinogenic qualities. The Food and Drug Administration has labeled this drug as a Schedule I substance, which has no recognized medicinal purpose and has a high abuse potential. Molly in any form produces energy and euphoria in users but also may dangerously affect body temperature and cause confusion, depression, and sleep problems. As the drug enters the bloodstream, heart rate and blood pressure increase. Since many users may be somewhat dehydrated from lack of water or the use of alcohol, the body temperature rises. This condition, called hyperthermia, can lead to liver, kidney and ultimately cardiovascular failure.
Krokodil is a homemade synthetic form of a heroin-like drug called desomorphine that is made by combining codeine tablets with various toxic chemicals including lighter fluid and industrial cleaners. This extremely dangerous mixture gets its name from the scaly, gray-green dead skin that forms at the site of an injection. The flesh destroyed by krokodil becomes gangrenous, and, in some cases, limb amputation has been necessary to save a user’s life. Desomorphine has a similar effect to heroin in the brain, although it is more powerful and has a shorter duration. For the past decade, homemade desomorphine has been used as a cheap heroin substitute in poor rural areas of Russia, and its use has also been reported in Germany. More recently, it has been reported in a few U.S. states.
These new emerging drugs are making it more difficult for parents to identify potential warning signs. They are targeted toward youth by using household names to disguise their harmful effects. Parents and communities need to be mindful of these dangerous trends. Talk to others and make them aware…you could save a life.
- Submitted by Kathy Graham Sullivan, Roanoke Area Youth Substance Abuse Coalition