According to SAMHSA, young men are the most affected by the dangers of synthetic drug abuse. Their recently published study revealed that in 2010 there were 11,406 emergency room visits related to the use of synthetic marijuana, or “spice.” Of those admitted, 78% were men between the ages of 12 and 29.
Young men are susceptible to using synthetic drugs because they are lower cost than other drugs, and until recent crack- downs they were widely accessible in local head shops and specialty tobacco shops and legal. The danger of these drugs is in their branding, as the package touts that they are natural and herbal and many associate herbal remedies with concoctions that are good for their bodies. The branding, legality and accessibility likely caused impressionable young men to overindulge in a drug clothed as being natural and herbal and therefore associated as safe. However, the amount of hospitalizations from the mental and physical tolls of these drugs proves otherwise, prompting US drug top administrator Gil Kerlikowske to assert, “Make no mistake—the use of synthetic cannabinoids can cause serious, lasting damage, particularly in young people.”
The serious damage synthetic drugs can cause is well known and has made national news several times in the past few years. The first demographic to greatly indulge in synthetic drugs were young men already in addiction treatment programs that used them to beat drug tests because the drugs were marketed as “drug test safe.” This was in 2010 when there wasn’t a way to test for synthetic drugs, making them very popular because young adults could still get kudos for staying “clean” in drug treatment whilst using and getting high.
The importance of combating addiction beginning at a young age is clear – young adults have the rest of their lives ahead of them and endless opportunities to excel. The use of drugs in young adulthood can rob men and women of a college education, building healthy relationships starting their careers and what older adults coin “the best time of their lives.” It is heartbreaking to see young adults addicted to any drug – but synthetic drugs are particularly disturbing because they seem to take a significant mental toll, leading to brutal violence and even psychosis. For young adults to recover, it takes a special awareness of their needs and pressures they face. That is why at Harmony Foundation we have created a specialty drug treatment program for young adults called YART (Young Adult Recovery Track) to help them fulfill all of the hopes and dreams available to them, so that they can indeed enjoy the best part of their lives.
If you are a young adult or you are concerned about the synthetic drug use of a young adult, Harmony Foundation has addiction treatment programs tailored to meet the needs of all age groups and substance abuse disorders.