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Synthetic Drugs Affecting Today’s Youth

Synthetic drugs are a growing problem among today’s youth, causing severe health and social issues. These drugs are easy to get and can be very dangerous, leading to addiction and other severe problems. At Buckeye Recovery Network in Orange County, CA, we offer specialized programs to help young people overcome synthetic drug addiction. Our services include dual diagnosis treatment, an intensive outpatient program (IOP), a partial hospitalization program (PHP), and aftercare services, which provide top-notch care and advanced treatment options.

This blog will explain the rise of synthetic drug use among youth, describe our effective treatment programs, and offer tips for support and prevention. Learn how Buckeye Recovery Network can help your loved one recover.

What Are Synthetic Drugs?

Synthetic drugs are artificial substances designed to mimic the effects of natural drugs. They are often chemically altered to evade legal restrictions and are marketed as safe, legal alternatives to traditional drugs. However, their unpredictable potency and composition make them extremely dangerous. Popular types include:

  • Synthetic cannabinoids: Known as Spice or K2, these are designed to mimic the effects of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. They are often sold as herbal incense or potpourri and can cause severe mental and physical health issues, including hallucinations, paranoia, and heart problems.
  • Synthetic cathinone: Often referred to as bath salts, these drugs mimic the effects of stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamine. They can cause extreme agitation, violent behavior, and severe cardiac and neurological damage.
  • Synthetic opioids: Fentanyl analogs are the most well-known synthetic opioids. They are significantly more potent than natural opioids like morphine and heroin, leading to a high risk of overdose and death. These drugs are often mixed with other substances, increasing the danger of unintentional overdose.

The Impact on Youth

Health Problems

Synthetic drugs can cause severe health issues, including:

  • Mental health issues: Anxiety, paranoia, and hallucinations
  • Physical health problems: Heart issues, seizures, and organ damage
  • Addiction: High potential for addiction, leading to long-term health problems

Social and Academic Problems

Using synthetic drugs can lead to:

  • Relationship issues: Strained relationships with family and friends
  • Academic decline: Poor grades and school absences
  • Legal troubles: Risk of arrest and legal consequences

Our Treatment Programs

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

For those with both addiction and mental health issues, our Dual Diagnosis Treatment program offers:

  • Individual therapy: Personalized sessions to address mental health and addiction
  • Group therapy: Supportive group sessions to share experiences
  • Medication management: Proper medication to manage mental health symptoms

Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)

Our IOP allows individuals to receive intensive treatment while living at home. It includes:

  • Therapy sessions: Regular individual and group therapy
  • Life skills training: Practical skills for long-term recovery
  • Family involvement: Family therapy to heal and strengthen relationships

Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)

PHP provides more intensive care than outpatient services. It includes:

  • Comprehensive assessments: Detailed evaluations to create tailored treatment plans
  • Daily therapy: Intensive therapy sessions to address addiction and co-occurring disorders
  • Holistic approaches: Incorporation of yoga, mindfulness, and art therapy

Aftercare Services

Recovery continues after treatment with our Aftercare services, which include:

  • Relapse prevention: Strategies and tools to prevent relapse
  • Support groups: Access to community support groups
  • Continued therapy: Ongoing individual and family therapy sessions

Tips for Families

Recognizing the Signs

Recognizing the signs of synthetic drug use early can make a significant difference in addressing the issue promptly. Be vigilant for behavioral changes such as sudden mood swings, erratic behavior, or increased secrecy. These can be indicators that something is amiss. Physical symptoms are another red flag; look out for unexplained health issues, changes in appetite, or disrupted sleep patterns. Additionally, academic issues often accompany drug use. Keep an eye on falling grades, increased school absences, and a noticeable loss of interest in activities your child once enjoyed.

Creating a Supportive Environment

Creating a supportive environment is crucial in helping your child navigate away from synthetic drug use. Open communication is critical; ensure your child feels safe and comfortable discussing their issues without fear of judgment or punishment. This can help them feel more secure and willing to share their struggles. Education is equally essential; take the time to learn about the dangers of synthetic drugs so you can have informed discussions with your child. Setting clear, consistent boundaries and consequences related to drug use can also provide structure and expectations, helping your child understand the seriousness of the issue.

Seeking Professional Help

If you suspect your child is using synthetic drugs, seeking professional help is essential. Early intervention can prevent the situation from worsening and give your child the support they need—contact Buckeye Recovery Network to schedule a consultation and start the journey toward recovery. Our team is equipped to provide the necessary care and support to help your child overcome synthetic drug addiction.

Building a Strong Support Network

Building a solid support network is also vital. Involve other family members, friends, and professionals who can provide additional support and encouragement. Family therapy sessions can be particularly beneficial in addressing any underlying issues and strengthening family bonds. Encouraging your child to participate in support groups can also give them a sense of community and shared experiences, which can be incredibly comforting and motivating during their recovery journey.

Encouraging Healthy Activities

Encouraging healthy activities can help divert your child’s attention away from drug use. Promote involvement in sports, hobbies, or volunteer work to help them find fulfillment and purpose in positive endeavors. These activities can also provide a constructive outlet for stress and emotions, reducing the likelihood of turning to drugs as a coping mechanism. By fostering a balanced and healthy lifestyle, you can help your child build resilience against the temptations of synthetic drugs.

Seeking Help

If you suspect your child is using synthetic drugs, seek professional help immediately—contact Buckeye Recovery Network to schedule a consultation and start the recovery process.


Synthetic drugs are a serious threat to today’s youth, but recovery is possible with the proper support and treatment. Buckeye Recovery Network in Orange County offers advanced, compassionate care tailored to each individual’s needs. Our comprehensive programs, including Dual Diagnosis Treatment, IOP, PHP, and Aftercare services, provide the necessary tools for lasting recovery.

If you or a loved one is struggling with synthetic drug addiction, don’t hesitate to reach out. Share this blog to raise awareness, and contact our team for more information on how we can help.


Common types include synthetic cannabinoids (e.g., Spice, K2), synthetic cathinones (e.g., bath salts), and synthetic opioids (e.g., fentanyl analogs).

Look for signs such as sudden behavior changes, unexplained health issues, and declining academic performance.

Diagnosis Treatment addresses both addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders simultaneously, ensuring comprehensive recovery.

We offer Aftercare services, including relapse prevention plans, support groups, and continued therapy sessions.

Yes, our Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) provides intensive care while allowing individuals to live at home.

Today is going to be the best day of your life.

Kelsey Gearhart

Director of Business Development

Kelsey carries multiple years of experience working in the substance abuse and mental health treatment field. Her passion for this field comes from her personally knowing recovery from addiction.

Prior to Buckeye she held titles of Recovery Coach, Operations Director, and Admissions Director. Kelsey was brought on at Buckeye Recovery as the Director of Business Development. She has a passion for ensuring every individual gets the help that they need, and does so by developing relationships with other providers.

Kelsey also oversees our women’s sober living environments – The Chadwick House for Women. She is committed to creating a safe, nurturing, and conducive environment for all women that walk through the doors of Chadwick.