As we know all too well, people who want to get high can often find a drug helpful for certain conditions – which they don’t have-- that they can abuse. Sometimes, drug abusers aren’t aware that the illicit drug they’re taking has been doctored with another harmful substance to boot.
Here are two drugs that fit the first case, and one that fits the second:
You may have heard that Alderall and other medications for Attention Deficit Disorder have the potential for abuse, but they’re not the only ones. People can also abuse Klonopin, or Clonazepam, which is used to treat anxiety and panic attacks. It’s in the benzodiazepine family of anti-anxiety medications. (You may be more familiar with xanax and valium, other medications in that family.)
eHow says “The medication produces a sedating sensation, easing symptoms of panic such as tension, hyperventilating, and general unease.” Unfortunately, it can be addicting. Also unfortunately, people who don’t need it abuse it. eHow noted that almost 15% of people who abuse heroin have abused Klonopin or a similar drug as well—daily, for over a year. Some people use it to enhance alcohol or to ease withdrawal from stimulants and opiates.
Klonopin—K-pin for short—is quick-acting and produces euphoria or a similar high as when someone is drunk. An overdose can result in coma, confusion, difficulty breathing, and nausea. Long-term users can experience hallucinations, anxiety, psychosis, and anger, and withdrawal can be deadly. It’s not surprising that experts recommend in-patient detox.
Then there’s Ketamine, the club drug or party drug that induces amnesia. It’s also known as Special K or the date rape drug. The Partnership at Drugfree.org explains it’s “an anesthetic used in human anesthesia and veterinary medicine.” And people are taking it from vet offices (if that’s what they mean by “diverted from veterinary offices”)
Those who’ve taken it say it either gives one a floating sensation, or a terrifying feeling. High doses can cause depression, high blood pressure, and “potentially fatal respiratory problems,” to name a few effects.
Levamisole also has a link to animals. It’s a medication for deworming both horses and livestock that dealers have glommed onto for use in preparing cocaine. When cocaine users were tested in a study, half of them were found to have levamisole in their urine. The drug was banned for human use 12 years ago. For one thing, it can cause a severe blood disorder,
One doctor said “the potential public health implications are huge.” Medical professionals who treat cocaine users have to be on the lookout for this drug, because it might not be readily apparent that a patient has ingested cocaine cut with this levamisole if they don’t test for it. The doctor who was interviewed said that abusers probably wouldn’t even care about the levamisole!
According to the article, “the drug is thought to bind to the same receptors as cocaine does, thereby enhancing the euphoria.” And how depressing: the DEA found that about 80% of the cocaine that was seized last year contained the drug.