Review Article| Volume 26, ISSUE 1, P147-164, March 2006

New Drugs of Abuse in North America

      The term “drugs of abuse” usually brings to mind traditional street drugs, such as cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine. In recent years, these drugs have been joined by other abusable substances, such as the well-known “club drugs”: ketamine, gamma hydroxybutyric acid, and Ecstasy. The drug scene, however, is constantly changing and evolving. As various law enforcement agencies pursue and dismantle distribution and production organizations of the usual drugs of abuse, dealers and users are turning to less known, more accessible, and often currently licit substances. The widespread growth of the Internet with its vast distribution of information has increased the accessibility of a host of substances and facilitated synthesis and production of various substances by individuals. This article discusses several new and emerging drugs of abuse, including new synthetic variations, plants, and pharmaceuticals diverted for abuse. It is not an all-inclusive list but rather an attempt to bring to light some lesser-known agents that appear to be growing in popularity.
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