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U.N. Reports Alarming Rise in New Psychoactive Substances

The Internet touches every aspect of our lives. Unfortunately, it’s also being used to feed our addictions.A recent United Nations report says that the Internet is helping to get designer drugs out to a larger audience. The most popular of these designer drugs include psychoactive substances that have a global customer base.

“In recent years, there has been an unprecedented surge in the abuse of new psychoactive substances,” often called “legal highs” or “designer drugs,” Raymond Yans, president of the Vienna-based International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), said at the annual report launch in London.

Governments across the planet are keeping tabs on the number of websites that sell these drugs, and they are growing at a rapid pace. According to the UN report, Europe has seen a quadrupling of these sites in the last two years.

Among the reasons this increase in use of designer drugs is alarming is that they are not regulated and they can be lethal to the unaware. This includes youths who have no knowledge of the “correct” or safe dosages. Street names, such as “spice,” “meow-meow” and “bath salts” mislead young people into believing that they are indulging in low-risk fun.

Some drug cultures, like those in south Asia, are at particular risk because the trend there is to prescription drug abuse by injection, particularly in south Asia. More than 6 percent of secondary school students have already abused tranquillizers in some countries,” the INCB found.

It’s not only the far-off parts of the world being affected. The report also condemned the wide availability of drugs and poor prescription practices in North America.

It’s costing lives. In 2011 in Oklahoma, two teenagers died when they took what they thought was a designer drug but which turned out to be something far more lethal.

Whether it’s Ecstasy or MDMA, what people order and what they receive isn’t always what’s advertised, and it’s almost always dangerous.

Posted on July 21st, 2013

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