40-one new “legal drugs” were identified in Europe in 2011, up from 24 the year before, according to BBC Newsbeat.
Once known as designer drugs, these psychoactive, unregulated substances are mostly produced in China and are seeing increasing popularity throughout Europe. Use of these drugs was reported by 2.6 per cent of students in 2008, and 7.2 per cent in 2010.
The drugs are mainly bought online. Most of these websites have their origin in the U.K., which saw an incredible spike from 2010 to 2011. While the United States is number two on that list, European countries round out the top five.
These substances are seen as even more dangerous than their illicit brethren, due to the higher potency levels and a lack of knowledge on how to treat addiction or overdose.
Researchers at St. George’s medical school in London came across one of these drugs and told Newsbeat the compound is “potent at 100 micrograms… a tiny amount. Most drugs are active at about 100 milligrams. This one is about a 1000 times more potent.”
As clueless drug users continue to try new substances, from heart-attack inducing synthetic pot to the recently banned party drug “miaow miaow,” they continue to put themselves at risk for psychosis, paranoia, panic attacks or worse.
Perhaps producing these drugs brings a measure of satisfaction to China, which went through a “century of humiliation” following the Opium Wars of the mid-1800s. As they can attest, it doesn’t feel good to have your population wracked by addictive drug use.
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