The world of research chemicals remains mysterious to most, and there is still much to be learned about this evolving subculture. Inside this world of drug users lurks an Alberta man known by the pseudonym RunTheDMT. The man often posts his experiences to the popular social media platform known as Reddit, and reports how the unregulated research chemicals affect him. It is a hazardous line of work, but the user insists he researches everything he buys and chemically tests them upon arrival. He admits that he knows the dangers and explains to the Calgary Herald, “I’m aware that what I do is dangerous and could say I’m playing Russian roulette with my life sometimes, but luckily I’ve never been sent a wrong chemical.”
Table of Contents
The United States and Canadian governments have become increasingly concerned about research chemicals and the clandestine laboratories that produce them. Often, research chemicals are structured similarly to popular drugs that are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration(FDA), or illegal drugs that we’ve grown accustomed to hearing about individuals using. One of the main issues, however, is that tweaking even one chemical in a drug can cause adverse effects and even death. The reason these drugs are being produced is to trick law enforcement by selling a substance that has not been outlawed. When these drugs are manufactured and sold as a plant food as they so often are, it takes authorities time to implement new laws to change their legality.
Health officials in the United States and Canada admit that the popularity for these drugs is beginning to skyrocket and what’s even more disturbing is they are difficult to track. While the drugs are less visible in plain sight, they are starting to saturate the internet only standing one click between user and dealer.
This has never been more evident by the growing research chemicals forum on Reddit which has close to 50,000 users to date and counting. Officials have their hands tied because each time they implement a ban on one chemical, chemists tweak a molecule and put them back up for sale.
With these drugs beginning to flood the market, it’s necessary to learn about what they are. How do you avoid the dangers? Our article will divulge a bit about how to avoid the risks and take a more in-depth look at this new phenomenon that is sweeping our country. While the drugs may be relatively well-known, only time can tell what we could be facing if an epidemic is blossoming.
What Are Research Chemicals?
Research chemicals are synthetic drugs that are manufactured in laboratories instead of being extracted from plants or natural resources. As mentioned above, they are typically created to imitate more common drugs, but they cost significantly less to manufacture. As a result, they can be sold much cheaper. Those who need to fulfill a drug habit will favor the research chemicals because in some cases, they last much longer, and cost much less. The combination of lower cost and increased strength makes the drugs extremely desirable.
The distributors of research chemicals actively work to avoid their products be considered illegal. The chemists will use the chemicals that are intended for other uses, such as scientific research, or create deceptive labels that include “not for human consumption.” The drugs are labeled as plant food, bath salts, glass cleaner, incense, and other various brands sold online or in smoke shops. It is one loophole these dealers use to keep their products out of reach from law enforcement.
When these substances are labeled in this fashion, the ingredients are not required by law to be listed or quality controlled by any federal agencies. There is no way for anyone to know what they are consuming, and because the chemical ingredients are regularly altered to remain one step ahead of controlled substance laws, those who use the drugs receive different chemical combinations every time. Not only does this increase the risk of poisoning or severe reactions, but it also increases the chances of overdose which can be fatal.
Ready to get help?Let's get started nowLet our treatment experts call you today.
Types of Research Chemicals
Some research chemicals are synthetic versions of real research drugs that legitimate companies sell. Research chemicals routinely include combinations of drugs that have covered pharmaceuticals, controlled substances, and adulterants. Other drugs that have been found in research chemicals including:
- Synthetic opioids
- Piperazine derivatives
Research chemicals tend to come in crystals, capsules, white powders, or packaged blotter tabs. There are various methods the drugs can be consumed that include ingestion, smoking, injecting, snorting, and using anally.
New Research Chemicals
One of the most dangerous aspects of the illicit drug trade is its unpredictability. Each year, new research chemicals make their way to the streets, and they are usually sold as known drugs. For the most part, new research drugs aren’t sold under new names. Users may not know they are taking an unknown designer drug until it’s too late. These synthetic analogs are often sold as MDMA, heroin, or cocaine, or they are mixed into common illicit drugs. In some cases, they are even pressed into pills that make them seem like official prescription drugs that were illegally acquired. Here are some of the new research chemical categories:
Fentanyl is a powerful opioid that is cheap and easy to make and transport. It’s often mixed into heroin which can cause a serious overdose. There several fentanyl analogs and new ones can be made just by tweaking the drug’s chemical structure. However, fentanyl and its analogs can be extremely deadly even in small doses.
Also called 2C-x, the 2C family is a class of designer drugs that all have names that start with 2C and end with a letter or series of letters, like 2C-B. There are dozens of drugs in the 2C family, and many of them were created as true research chemicals by chemist Andrew Shulgin. However, new analogs have since been created. These drugs can mimic the effects of MDMA, LSD, or cocaine. Some drugs in this family are mild while others can be toxic.
Cathinones are stimulants that are derived from the khat shrub. Synthetic versions like α-PVP (also called flakka) are powerful and unpredictable designer drugs that produce effects that are similar to cocaine. Drugs like flakka cause intense stimulating symptoms that can cause an energized feeling, panic, paranoia, and anxiety.
How to Avoid The Dangers of Research Chemicals
The short answer would be to avoid using the drugs in the first place, but for some, that is not an option. Unfortunately, although not much is known about these chemicals, they resemble more common drugs that possess addictive qualities. If you are using any of these drugs, the best way to avoid endangering yourself or others is to start the treatment process. The process, known as the continuum of care, will be the safest way to stay away from the dangers of drug use.
While many of the research chemicals may not be dangerous during withdrawal, some drugs such as diclazepam that resemble benzodiazepines will require an extensive treatment process. Due to lack of research and the ability to identify what will happen during detox, it is imperative to commit yourself to medical detoxification. The process is a three-to-seven-day stint in a facility that involves 24-hour monitoring. Clinicians will provide medications to alleviate withdrawal symptoms and be able to assist you in the event of the critical withdrawal period.
While other drugs may have less serious risks, the intake team could decide to forego this process on an outpatient basis. It is usually done a client to client basis and involves factors such as the type of drugs being used, how long the drugs have been used, and how much of the drug is used.
The intake team may recommend a residential treatment facility during the assessment phase if they determine your drug use has completely over-run your life. If your home environment is not able to sustain sobriety, this option will allow you to participate in therapies, and remove yourself from the stresses of the world and focus on yourself.
If the addiction to research chemicals has not spiraled entirely out of control, this will be a feasible option that allows you to remain and participate in the workforce or school. The direction will be decided at the discretion of the addiction specialists as they weigh all options. All cases are unique and will be treated as such allowing the client to experience a tailored experience.
Avoid The Dangers of Research Chemicals – Get Help Today
Due to the lack of research regarding research chemicals, the dangers have not been studied in depth. Addiction to any of these drugs can be fatal or cause long-term damage to the quality of your life. If you are starting to develop an addiction to research chemicals, your best choice is to check yourself into treatment. Fortunately, the caring addiction specialists at Serenity at Summit are here to help.
If you or a loved one is struggling with a substance use disorder of any kind, there is help available. Speak to an addiction treatment specialist at Serenity at Summit to learn more about research chemical addiction and how it can be treated. Call (844) 326-4514 or contact us online to learn more about your addiction therapy options.
Kucerak, I. K. (2016, June 25). Inside the world of drug users who mess with unregulated research chemicals in Alberta. Retrieved from https://calgaryherald.com/news/local-news/inside-the-world-of-drug-users-who-mess-with-unregulated-research-chemicals-in-alberta