JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Synthetic drugs can be more dangerous than the real ones, and a new study done on bath salts confirms that. Through a test on rats, a team from Scripps Research Institute found that bath salts are more addictive that methamphetamine.
Experts say research like this is vital to educate young people about the dangers of these types of drugs as well as to keep researchers and educators ahead of trending illegal drugs.
The drug known as bath salts became popular last year and it could be the most addictive drug out there. The rats used in research got hooked on the ingredient MDPV and tried much harder to get access to than than they did for meth.
Marc Dickerson, the youth development specialist at Project SOS, this is helpful for education.
"This new drug, this new thing is so much more powerful that it caused the rats in the study to do 10 times more then what they did for the methamphetamine," Dickerson said. "So its really alarming and really makes me think a lot about what our job is in the schools"
Project SOS partners with Northeast Florida school districts to educate students about a variety of things, like the dangers of drugs.
"This irresistible craving that these rats had so we want to and equate that to what can we do to create this irresistible craving with these students so they are focused on their goals and their dreams," Geraldine Ramirez, a youth development specialist said.
One of the biggest problems with synthetic drugs is that they can be reformulated quickly since they are made in the lab. Researchers work hard to stay ahead of the drug makers by knowing which ones have the highest abuse potential, which are more likely to have toxicity issues, and which have a high risk for deadly consequences.
"There's not much research available to us as to how to dealt with that like I said meth has been around for a while of course you deal with the marijuana, with the cigarette smoking and alcohol and things like that so we have had years of experience dealing with that."
In this study, researchers taught rats to press a lever to get doses of bath salts and methamphetamine. They say the rats did about 60 presses on average for a dose of meth, but about 600 for the bath salts. They say some rats even had 3000 presses for a single hit.
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