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UN: Designer drug use on the rise around the globe

While the use of traditional narcotics like cocaine and heroin is either staying stable or reducing, designer drug abuse and production is rising at an alarming rate, according to a report released by the United Nations last month.

The 2013 World Drug Report authored by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC), estimates that nearly 5 percent of European Union residents between the ages of 15 and 24 had admitted to using designer drugs, referred to as new psychoactive substances (NPS) in the publication. NPS includes substances like synthetic marijuana, bath salts and manufactured mephedrone with effects similar to those of cocaine, amphetamines and ecstasy. They are marketed as “legal highs” and can be purchased in convenience stores or over the internet. The global public health community is especially worried about designer drugs because they are uncontrolled and have not been tested for safety.

“There is an alarming new drug problem,” UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov said in a statement. “Given the almost infinite scope to alter the chemical structure of NPS, new formulations are outpacing efforts to impose international control.”

The number of NPS found in UN Member States has increased from 166 in 2009 to 251 in 2012. According to the report, these drugs are able to proliferate so quickly because manufacturers can easily   produce new variants whenever new legal restrictions are put into place. To counter this problem, UNODC has launched an early warning system will allow Member States to monitor their emergence and take appropriate actions.

Teens are especially susceptible to abusing designer drugs because of their accessibility. If you suspect your child of using these substances, now is the time to seek help. Contact Intervention Services today to learn about how our drug intervention programs can bring your child into recovery.

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