Drug Free Sarasota. For Healthy People, Community, and Environment

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What are designer drugs?
*source NIDA

designerdrugsThe term “designer drugs” refers to drugs that are created in a laboratory (typically, an “underground,” or secret, illegal lab). A designer drug is created by changing the properties of a drug that comes from a plant—such as cocaine, morphine, or marijuana—using the tools of chemistry. The resulting “designer” drugs typically have a new, different effect on the brain or behavior.

Examples of Designer Drugs

MDMA (Ecstasy), ketamine, GHB, Rohypnol, LSD (acid), and methamphetamine are some examples of designer drugs. These drugs may also be referred to as “club drugs” because of their use in night clubs.

Since many designer drugs are created in illegal labs, their ingredients and potency (how strong they are) vary a lot, making it nearly impossible to know what is actually in them or what they can do to you. For example, Ecstasy tablets are often contaminated with other things, like ephedrine (used to treat allergies and asthma), ketamine (an injected anesthetic given for minor surgeries), and methamphetamine (another illicit drug).

It is not surprising that these unknown mixtures can cause dangerous side effects, such as seizures, memory loss, coma and even death.



2014-Over 260 youth were surveyed to provide information on designer drug use/awareness.

Less than 3% of survey respondents reported K2/Spice use in the last 6 months.

Approximately 71% of the individuals who reported K2/Spice use in the last 6 months were within the 10-19 year age range

2014-Adoption of Sarasota County Designer Drug Ordinance

The Coalition continues to collect and analyze arrest data related to the ordinance to track trends and create strategies to improve outcomes.

The Coalition continues to collect annual surveys to track trends in use/awareness of substance, and create strategies to improve outcomes.

The Coalition has initiated a subcommittee newly developed substances that are abused locally or have high usage rates within the region.

The Coalition collects available data related to these substances to identify local concerns.


June 15, 2016


RX Abuse and Misuse - Initiative