Designer Drugs

Designer Drug
Addiction & Treatment

Designer drugs are drugs that are created in a laboratory, using chemistry to alter a plant derived drugs, like cocaine, marijuana and morphine, into a new substance. These new substances may have a new, altered affect on the user.

Designer drugs are especially dangerous because they are primarily produced in illegal, underground, labs, and there are no controls on the ingredients being used. Users often do not know exactly what is in the drugs they are taking, or how potent individual doses may be.

There are many types of designer drugs on the market, but the most commonly abused are:

MDMA (Ecstasy) – synthetic, psychoactive chemically similar to methamphetamine (stimulant) and mescaline (hallucinogen)

Initially considered a “club drug” favored by young adults in the night club and rave scenes, it has now become a popular street drug of choice amongst many types of users. It affects the brain neurons that use serotonin, and causes the release of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. The psychoactive drug creates a feeling of euphoria, decreasing stress and anxiety and heightening feelings of social connectedness, while altering reality and perception.

MDMA use is quickly rising amongst youth, and very dangerous to the health of young people. It acts as both as a stimulant and a hallucinogen, raising heart rate and blood pressure and altering inhibitions resulting in poor judgment. In high doses, it can interfere with the body’s ability to regulate temperature which can result in hyperthermia, liver, kidney, and cardiovascular shut down, even death.

LSD – an odorless, colorless chemical that comes from the ergot fungus, causing hallucinations

LSD is a potent mood altering drug that profoundly distorts reality. By disrupting nerve cells and the neurotransmitter serotonin, it results in long hallucinogenic “trips” that can last up to 12 hours. The effects can be stressful and create a panicked state, referred to as a “bad trip.” Even after the LSD has worn off, however, users can experience “flashbacks” of the trip weeks or month after the drug was used.

There are many dangers of LSD, not the least of which is that the dose and potency of the drug is unknown at the time of use, increasing panic in users and possibility of a fatal accident in their altered state. The drug can also trigger latent mental issues, resulting in long-term psychosis.

Ketamine – a dissociative anesthetic, initially used as a human anesthetic, still used in animals

Ketamine is powerful anesthetic that separates perception from sensation. This experience is often called “going into a K-hole”, in which the users experience numbness in their extremities, and dream-like sensation of being outside their body. In high doses, it can produce a hallucinogenic effect of being very far away from the body, a near-death type experience. While on ketamine, users have difficulty moving, if able to move at all.

Ketamine is a highly, psychologically addictive substance, dissociating users from their consciousness. Physically, the drug can also depress breathing, which can be lethal, particularly when combined with other depressants such as alcohol and valium.

Rohypnol – a fast-acting benzodiazepine, causing sedation, muscle relaxation, and reduced anxiety

Rohypnol have strong sedative effects, with resulting partial amnesia. Users are unable to remember some experiences while under the influence, giving Rohypnol the nickname of “the date-rape drug.” Although known for its use in sexual assaults, it is highly abused by users for profound intoxicated feeling it produces. It is often used in combination with other drugs to boost highs, or reduce the effects of stimulants.

Rohypnol is addictive and dangerous, particularly since the drug is produced illegally in the US and often with contaminates. Often taken with alcohol, it can depress the respiratory system and easily result in death.

GHB – a synthetic central nervous system depressant with a sedative effect

GHB , Gamma hydroxybutyrate, effects the GABA receptor in the brain. It is a popularly abused club drug. It produces feelings of relaxation, reduced anxiety, and social connectedness. It is also has anabolic effects, and is abused by body-builders to stimulate muscle growth.

In low doses, GHB effects are similar to alcohol and ecstasy, but in higher doses it can cause nausea, amnesia, seizures, coma, even death. It is often combined with other depressent drugs, increasing the danger of respiratory issues and death.

Treatment for
Designer Drug Addiction

If you or someone you love is suffering from an addiction please call the Pasadena Recovery Center at (866) 663-3030. We’re available to talk with you twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. We promise confidentiality and professionalism. Our comprehensive treatment program will address each client’s issues on an integrated basis, understanding that addiction often has underlying emotional and behavioral issues that need to be resolved.

At Pasadena Recovery Center, our dedicated staff understands the disease of addiction and we’re proud to offer lifesaving treatment at an affordable cost. Our goal is to reintroduce sober individuals into society with the skills necessary to lead meaningful, productive lives, through a compassionate and comprehensive treatment program. There is hope and we’re here to help, so please take the first step towards a better life by contacting us today.

Below is a list of providers that we are in-network with:

The Experience

Admissions Process

Many people find the very idea of entering a rehab facility daunting. We at the Pasadena Recovery Center want to ease your fears and assure you that we will be here with you every step of the way. Many people believe that the hardest step is the very first one – contacting us – and then it gets progressively easier.


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Typical Day

A typical day at PRC consists of specialized groups such as Anger Management, Grief and Loss, Relationships, Relapse Prevention, Gratitude Group, Groups hosted by Mackenzie Phillips, Gary Richman, and more. Also you’ll get one-on-one counseling sessions with our specialized treatment team, as well as family sessions.


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Expert Speakers Series

At the Pasadena Recovery Center we regularly bring in community leaders and addiction experts to educate our residents, alumni and staff. For example, the Nation’s top drug official, Gil Kerlikowske (photo right), spoke about the California marijuana legalization ballot measure (Prop. 19) prior to the 2010 election.


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