Testing for Synthetic Drugs Proves Challenging | VideoMichelle San Miguel | 11/11/2012
"Part of our awareness grew from the fact that they were using those synthetics to stay high while they were involved in treatment services because they didn`t think we could test for them. They didn`t think that it was possible to pick that up in the urine," said Marvis Doster, director of nursing and residential services for Heartview Foundation.
When Heartview Foundation began sending out urine samples to get tested for synthetic drugs, they were looking for two compounds. That number`s now up to 24. Doster says it can be hard to test for these drugs because manufacturers are constantly changing their chemical makeup to skirt the law.
Doster said, "It sometimes becomes a game of `catch them if you can` with these products.
Doster says most patients who seek treatment for synthetic drugs are also using other drugs. But for others, it`s all about synthetic drugs and the altered mental stage they get from being on it.
"They hallucinate. They`re paranoid. They`re very anxious. They can`t sleep. They don`t eat. They`re very much over-stimulated by those drugs mentally and it then causes consequences physically."
These products are legal but aren`t meant for human consumption. Health providers say the long-term effects of synthetic drugs are unknown since they`re not regulated by the FDA.
"I`m really angry that our young people and our mid people are exposed to this and that it`s so readily available and so cheap and that people are selling it and causing this kind of misery," Doster said.
If you or someone you know is using synthetic drugs, treatment is available. You can contact the Heartview Foundation at (701) 222-0386.