Synthetic drugs, also referred to as designer or club drugs, are chemically-created in a lab to mimic another drug such as marijuana, cocaine or morphine.

Just Think Twice - Synthetic Drugs


Synthetic cannabinoids refer to man-made, mind-altering chemicals. They are sprayed on dried plant material so they can be smoked. Or, sold as liquids to inhaled in e-cigarettes and other devices.

National Institute on Drug Abuse - Synthetic Cannabinoids

  • Called K2, Spice, and many other names, and are labeled as "not for human consumption" 
  • A mixture of herbs, spices, or shredded plant material that is typically sprayed with a synthetic compound
  • Can be smoked in pipes or joints, or made into tea
  • Short term effects include: increased agitation, pale skin, seizures, vomiting, profuse sweating, uncontrolled body movements, elevated blood pressure, dysphasia, severe paranoia, delusions, and hallucinations
  • Sold at tobacco shops, convenience stores, gas stations, head shops, truck stops, and via the Internet


Synthetic cathinones, also known as "bath salts," are synthetic drugs chemically related to a stimulant found in the khat plant. 

​National Institute on Drug Abuse - Synthetic Cathinones

  • NOT real bath salts! They are referred to as novelty items, and are labeled “not for human consumption”
  • Also marketed as bath crystals, plant food, and herbal incense
  • Described as a white, tan or brown odorless, powdery substance
  • Contain derivatives of the chemical cathinone. Cathinone is a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance. “Bath salts” may also contain large amounts of caffeine.
  • Both MDPV and mephedrone are central nervous stimulants
  • Effects are similar to cocaine, methamphetamine, or MDMA. Sometimes called “fake” cocaine or “fake” meth
  • Can be snorted, injected, or eaten
  • Physical Effects: racing heart beat, extreme elevations of blood pressure, sleeplessness, loss of appetite, strange eye movements
  • Psychological Effects: extreme agitation or anxiety, hallucinations, paranoia, change in personality, depression, aggression or disturbed behavior, delusions, hostility, violence, suicidal thoughts
  • Sold at tobacco shops, convenience stores, gas stations, head shops, truck stops, and via the Internet

Club Drugs

Club drugs tend to used by teenagers and young adults at bars, nightclubs, concerts, and parties. Club drugs include GHB, Rohypnol, ketamine, MDMA (Ecstasy), Methamphetamine, and LSD (Acid). 

National Institute on Drug Abuse - MDMA (Molly/Ecstasy)