Solution Proposal Paris

Synthetic drugs are a threat to society in that they are lethal, but no one realizes it. The youth take drugs such as K2, Bath Salts, and MDPV without realizing that one dose too many could turn them into a vegetable or even kill them. There have been deaths because of synthetic drugs, most of which are young people, in their teens or early twenties. Synthetic drugs are a threat to everyone, not just the youth. Families of those who have died from synthetic drugs did not know the dangers of what their loved ones were getting into until it was too late. Synthetic drugs are lethal and we need to educate everyone in society of the dangers they or their loved ones can face with these drugs.

Lack of education is one of the first and major causes of synthetic drugs becoming a problem. The fact that some don’t believe that synthetic drugs are harmful could be those who simply do not care, which would cause them to make poor life choices, such as taking synthetic drugs. A more distinct reason is that most people who don’t know the harmful consequences are probably not accurately informed. Jenny Marder explains the harmful effects of synthetic drugs, specifically MDVP (also called “bath salts”), which causes the same side effects as amphetamine and cocaine at the same time. Amphetamine causes dopamine transporters to open up and cause more dopamine to be transferred to receptors. Cocaine does the opposite in that it closes the receptor so the dopamine cannot go to the place it wants to. Marder uses the example of a sink to clarify what this means. Imagine a sink that is plugged with the faucet turned on all the way. The water (or dopamine in the brain) is overflowing. This is what happens to the brain when someone takes MDVP, hence Marder’s article name “The Drug That Never Lets Go”. MDVP is different from other drugs in that it does not wear off after a day, for some the symptoms lasted up to two weeks (Marder). This is because, as Marder explains, “If you look at the chemical structure of MDPV, it has one structural feature that the other molecules don't: a short carbon chain with a methyl group at the end.” MDVP is structured so that the hallucinogens and other side effects do not go away, which drives people, such as Dickie Sanders, to kill themselves (Marder). If people were accurately informed then synthetic drugs wouldn't be a problem.

Many can argue that synthetic marijuana (K2) is not harmful because they’ve been using this drug for years and there has been no problem. While this may be true for some people, it is not true for everyone. This is because the chemicals associated with synthetic marijuana are not distributed evenly. Synthetic marijuana is herbs sprayed with drugs that are supposed to mimic the effects of natural marijuana. It is true that many use synthetic marijuana without any harmful consequences. But the day that these K2 users get a batch of it that has had far too many chemicals sprayed on it, it will be too late for them. Synthetic marijuana is 1,000 times stronger than natural marijuana and smoking K2 that has been sprayed too much can be fatal and cause long term brain damage (University of Colorado Denver). Those who have used K2 on many occasions are usually not informed on the fact that it only takes one strong batch of K2 to cause permanent damage or even death.

Another cause of this problem of synthetic drugs is the packaging and legality of synthetic drugs and the drugs ability to not be detected in a drug test. Those who experiment with these drugs feel there is no risk associated with the experimentation because synthetic drugs will not interfere with their job because they do not show up on drug tests, and they are legal and easy to obtain. Synthetic drugs can be bought in a variety of convenience stores. This fact causes many people to argue that this makes synthetic drugs safe. That argument is wrong because synthetic drugs are not safe only because they have managed to remain legal. Synthetic drugs are packaged as incense or bath salts and can be bought for around ten dollars. They are becoming more popular which explains the rise in emergency room visits that have similarities in the symptoms, such as rapid heartbeat and extreme paranoia (Synthetic Drugs). Manufacturers of synthetic drugs have many found a way to make their drugs legal all the time. Those who make synthetic drugs tweak the chemical makeup of the drugs slightly so that they can sneak past the DEA. In an article by the University of Colorado Denver, they quote Monte saying, “Synthetic marijuana is illegal under DEA law, but companies that make it are a step ahead with new chemicals and packaging on standby all the time." Far too many don’t understand this fact about synthetic drugs so they assume that since the drugs are legal, then they are safe. The DEA is trying to keep up with the manufacturers of synthetic drugs but they have a hard time because those who are making a profit off of the drugs have no reason to stop. Those who make the drugs don’t even realize themselves how dangerous these drugs are. If more people knew about the efforts of the DEA trying to put a stop to the selling of synthetic drugs, then they would rethink their drug use.

As one can see, there are many causes of this problem of synthetic drugs. The only true solution we have that we can control is education. If more people were educated then they could avoid the reckless behavior of taking drugs. I really do not believe that the youth that must experiment, feel rebellious, need an escape, have poor self-control, low self-esteem, and use drugs as a result. They have no idea what they are getting themselves into. Somehow it seems glamorous to teens. The consequences are lethal and heartbreaking, and we would think that would be enough, but the youth still want to try it and use it. Educating everyone is the most central and significant action needed. There is a show called Intervention (AETV.com) and one episode shows a graphic scene where a young man, shoots drugs into his neck. Many episodes of Intervention reveal young women prostituting and living in filth, neglecting themselves and their families. If every person in the world watched this show, every episode, this would make an impact. Children in junior high are introduced and educated with the DARE program (dare.org) and are educated about drugs, but a realistic look at the problem with real life stories of lost lives due to drug abuse would definitely be remembered and give a much clearer truth about the chance person would take if they used drugs. Drug education needs to be more than a two week course in health, drug education should be an extended curriculum to include the harsh realities of physical and criminal elements. During the D.A.R.E. program, children are taught how to say no, but they are never taught the harsh realities if they don’t say no. We need to make the D.A.R.E. program and all drug awareness programs be more realistic. We can put this into action by contacting the D.A.R.E. America program, by phone, letter, or email, and expressing our opinions on how to improve their program. Also, parents should be required to be involved to take every high school student to volunteer at a rehab center, also employers should be required to allow parents time off to go with their children to complete this part of their children’s education with their child.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “drug addiction is a complex illness characterized by intense and, at time, uncontrollable drug craving, along with compulsive drug seeking and use that persist even in the face of devastating consequences. While the path to drug addiction begins with the voluntary act of taking drugs, over time a person’s ability to choose not to do so becomes compromised, and seeking and consuming the drug becomes compulsive. This behavior results largely from the effects of prolonged drug exposure on brain functioning. Addiction is a brain disease that affects multiple brain circuits, including those involved in reward and motivation, learning and memory, and inhibitory control over behavior.

As evidenced, drug control is not enforceable when the demand by humans is high. We need to educate and treat our people to help them heal so they will not need a harmful substance to feel good. These synthetic drugs are marketed to the youth, in shiny, colorful packaging, with “cool” names, with an aura of mystery. Selfish and corrupt criminals that provide drugs are preying on the human condition and weakness and should be fined highly and lose their possessions if they continue to supply drugs. “We hit them where it hurt, which is in their business, in their pocketbooks, and I think this is the way to attack it” Commissioner Sandy Murman of Hillsborough County, Florida says (Vander Velde). We can’t control this problem completely by attacking those who manufacture the drugs. We can attack them in another way by targeting their buyers (the youth) with education.
The youth should see the real and uncomfortable results of drug use. Treatment has stigma associated with being in rehab. Everyone should see the fear of being vulnerable, and the fear of looking weak or being judged. Denial of a person having a problem with substances and the denial of that person’s close friends and families is a very common obstacle for successful treatment. We should take the shame out of treatment and become more open with each other and educate our children about why and how underlying sorrow and depression can lead to tragedy and lives wasted.
Adding the brutal reality of drugs to the education system is the best way to show the youth what drugs can really do. Parents should be take time out of their day (and be allowed to do this by their employer) to take part in their children’s education of drugs. The reason parents should have to go also is because drugs affect everyone, not just the youth. Adults could be addicted to these drugs as well, and if that’s not the case then they could be impacted by drugs if their loved ones get involved with them. Everyone needs to be informed on what synthetic drugs are and we need to take the right steps to better education.
There is discussion of using other solutions to combat the synthetic drug problem. One solution is that we need to target the manufacturers. This solution would make sense at first, but after some critical thinking, it is not the best solution. First of all, a bill (HB 2505) was created in West Virginia in 2011 that says a person who sells, buys or possesses synthetic drugs such as bath salts is guilty of a misdemeanor and can be sentenced to up to six months in prison and fined up to $1000. Louisiana, Florida, Alabama, Utah and Kentucky had similar new laws being enacted in 2011 (Gregory). New laws have hurriedly been created to ban synthetic drugs, such as the Synthetic Drug Ordinance created in 2012 banning “items described by misleading packaging as potpourri, synthetic marijuana, or synthetic drugs”. Under the ordinance, stores that continue selling the drug will be fined $500 per package (Orlando). The owners of these stores, where synthetic drugs are sold, benefit highly and the sale of these items can be a huge part of their profit, so greed is a problem. The nature of our society that needs more and more no matter the consequence. These fines are a small start, but the profit that the stores will make outweigh the fines they face. The stores will take their consequence if it means that they will be making a fortune off the drugs they sell.

Today, money is a huge part of living. Everything is more expensive and living a glamorous lifestyle is something that everyone wants. Those who have this lifestyle usually have been brainwashed to do anything to maintain it. They being to worship material things and forget about what really matters in life, like trust and honesty. This applies to those who are making a fortune off of the youth buying synthetic drugs. From the store owner, to the dealer, to the manufacturer, they are all caught up in the excitement of making money. Nothing else matters to them but making a profit. Thinking of targeting them as the solution to the synthetic drug problem is smart, it is not the best possible solution. We would have to make laws that would put too many people in jail. This isn’t practical because we would never be able to even arrest all of those involved. Trying to stop those who manufacture and sell synthetic drugs is not the best solution for stopping synthetic drugs. Think of any movie that is based around drugs. The drug dealers and manufacturers are always wealthy and living amazing lives. That kind of greed is something we can’t take away from people, and as long as their customers are unaware of the dangers of their products and continue to invest in their drugs, they won’t stop.

We can, however, begin to target these people by targeting those who buy their products. By educating the youth and their loved ones on the dangers of synthetic drugs, they will eventually realize the risk of synthetic drugs are too great and stop buying the products. This will result in the decline in the drug business, which could result in drug dealers losing money.
Education can being to solve every aspect of the synthetic drug problem. It can prevent the youth from using and cause those who already use to come to the reality of what they are doing. They will realize that synthetic drugs can kill. This will cause those who invest in synthetic drugs to stop and hopefully but those who make and sell the drugs out of business. Education can be put in place by requiring parents to take their children to Synthetic Drug Awareness classes or something along that line. We can also try to but the reality of synthetic drugs into the D.A.R.E. program, instead of telling the youth to simply “say no”. We can stop the problem of synthetic drugs, we just need to educate society of the dangers of synthetic drugs.

Works Cited

  • Gregory, Kathryn, and Veronica Nett. "SYNTHETIC DRUGS:" Sunday Gazette – Mail. 8 May 2011. ProQuest. 22 Apr. 2015.
  • Jessica, Vander V. "Synthetic Drugs, Real Fines." Tampa Bay Times. 21 Feb. 2013. ProQuest. 22 Apr. 2015.
  • Marder, Jenny. "The Drug That Never Lets Go." PBS. 20 Sept. 2012. Web. 23 Feb. 2015.
  • Orlando, Alex. “Battling Synthetic Drugs." Tampa Bay Times. 28 Dec. 2012: 1. ProQuest. 22 Apr. 2015.
  • "Synthetic Drugs." Synthetic Drugs. Syracuse University, n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2015.
  • Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction. Bethesda, MD: National Institute on Drug Abuse,National Institutes of Health, U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services, 2008. Drug Facts.National Institute on Drug Abuse, Sept. 2009. Web. 22 Apr. 2015.
  • University of Colorado Denver. "More Illness from Synthetic Marijuana Likely." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 Jan. 2014. Web. 17 Feb. 2015.

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