Designer Drugs

What Are Designer Drugs?

The term designer drug is used to refer to drugs that are produced by slightly altering the chemical structure of an already existing illegal drug, to produce a new drug that had similar properties.

At one time, drug laws in most countries were based on the chemical structure of a particular substance. Since designer drugs do not have the exact same chemical structure as an illegal parent drug, they were technically not illegal.

Laws were then updated so that designer drugs derived from an illegal parent drug can be considered illegal in the United States and many other nations in the world.

Designer drugs are technically called analogues or analogs by chemists and other scientists. No need to start from scratch, just take an existing drug and make subtle changes to its chemical structure.

Change the chemical structure of a recognized drug, known as the parent, and some of these new drugs, known as the analogues or children, will probably have some of the same, or similar, actions as the original parent drug.

Example of an analogue drug:

piracetam phenylpiracetam

By adding an extra molecule from the phenyl group to the chemical structure of the drug piracetam, chemists were able to synthesize a drug (which is much more potent) called phenylpiracetam. Phenylpiracetam is an analogue of piracetam.

Phenylpiracetam is an analogue of piracetam, but in most areas around the world neither are illegal drugs. So, most people would refer to them as analogues rather than designer drugs.

The term designer drugs is more appropriately reserved for analogues of illegal substances. This is to differentiate them from legal analogues.

Related Books

Synthetic Panics
New drugs often create a panic that is fueled by the media. Looks at recent and older panics over drugs, panic created by those interested in profiting from their own lies and deception.

Includes the stories behind various drug panics like: speed kills, the pcp crisis, ecstasy, the cat attack, redneck cocaine, methamphetamine, rave drugs, rape drugs, more.
Synthetic Panics

Designer and Club Drugs Quick Reference Guide
Small book that gives some basic info about rave culture and drugs associated with it. The bulk of the book is photographs of various drugs to aid in their identification.

Over 60 color images (about 4 inches wide by 3 inches tall) of various drugs including: ecstasy, ghb, rohypnol, ketamine, cocaine, crack, heroin, lsd, marijuana, methamphetamine, more.
Designer and Club Drugs Quick Reference Guide