What Are Designer Drugs?

Designer drugs mimic the effects of widespread, popular drugs. They are illegal and often made synthetically in a lab. Designer drugs have far less sophisticated regulations because many of them are homemade and contain common ingredients, such as cleaning chemicals. If you have been accused of designer drug usage, dealing, or cooking, contact Jarrett Maillet J.D., P.C. for help.


Methamphetamine is arguably the most popular and widespread designer drug, and people on the street commonly refer to it as “meth.” Methamphetamine became especially popular in the 1990s. Recipes and directions posted on internet forums caused it to spread quickly across the United States. Creating meth involves combining a variety of harsh chemicals, including battery acid, drain cleaner, and over-the-counter cold medicine.


Ecstasy is another common designer drug. Also referred to as MDMA, it is a stimulant the causes effects and reactions similar to amphetamines. A major pharmaceutical company originally developed it, and ecstasy gained popularity in the 1980s and has continued to be a common drug amongst people who frequent raves and clubs. It comes in brightly colored tablets to appeal to a younger crowd. Ecstasy commonly contains methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, and rat poison.

“Molly” is a supposedly pure form of ecstasy. This form of designer MDMA is popular among millennials and younger teens and often presumed as safer than other options, which include amphetamines. However, Molly, like other illicit drugs, is dangerous and unregulated. Therefore, users can’t be sure of what they are actually ingesting.


Bath salts, also known as cathinones, were named after a common bath accessory to make them easier to conceal from law enforcement. They include chemicals that create an effect similar to amphetamines and cause a similar type of high. Drug dealers often conceal bath salts in tiny packets with labels such as “plant food” or “jewelry cleaner” with “not for human consumption” on the package.


Synthetic marijuana, known as “K2” or “spice,” is manufactured through a process of soaking herbs in chemicals. Incense shops and gas stations often sell it under the guise of fragrances or natural aromatherapy products. Synthetic marijuana has caused many adverse reactions in users, such as anxiety, paranoia, and hallucinations.


Designer drugs are not regulated as intensely as many other drugs available on the streets today. Street chemists created many designer drugs in an effort to provide an alternative to mainstream drugs under a different name and chemical makeup – all while providing the user with similar effects. The United States amended the Controlled Substances Act in an effort to regulate designer drugs, making it illegal to manufacture, sell, or possess substances that are similar in chemistry and pharmacology to highly regulated drugs.