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What are Designer Drugs?

designer drugs

Designer drugs are any synthetic drugs that were chemically altered or created in an illegal lab.

Designer drugs can include a wide range of drug types and are usually created to mimic other drugs or even increase their effects. Different underground labs may produce different chemical compounds in the same drug, but both parties may try to market it in the same way as the same drug even though they could be vastly different. Sometimes people will also lace one drug with another without the buyer’s knowledge. Because of their unregulated nature and varied potencies, designer drugs are illegal, addictive, and incredibly dangerous.

What Are Examples of Designer Drugs?

Now that we have answered the question “what are designer drugs,” it is naturally followed up with “what are some examples of designer drugs?” With these designer drugs being sold in the street, our rehab centers in Philadelphia want you to be aware of them. As a group, designer drugs are often nicknamed club drugs because of their frequent use in nightclubs by young adults looking for a temporary high while they go out to party. While there is an extensive list of these drugs out on the street, some of the most common designer drug examples include:

  • MDMA (ecstasy)
  • LSD (acid)
  • Methamphetamine (meth)
  • Ketamine (valium)
  • GHB
  • Rohypnol (roofies or date rape drug)

The symptoms and treatments associated with designer drugs vary greatly so it is important to look up the drugs individually if you have more questions. With our addiction treatment center in Philadelphia, we can help you on the path to recovery from an addiction to these drugs.

Getting Help

As you can see, many of these drugs also have street nicknames that you are probably more familiar with. In the past year, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that an estimated 19.7%, 19%, and 9.4% of people over the age of 18 in 2017 have used LSD, MDMA, and methamphetamine, respectively, during their lifetime. They also found that in the past year, 0.7%, 3.2%, 2.2%, 0.5%, 0.7% of 12th graders are estimated to have used ketamine, LSD, MDMA, meth, and rohypnol. [1]

While the number of high schoolers who have used these drugs is low, the data does suggest that designer drugs become more popular beyond this age group. The occasional designer drug use in high school could turn into a bigger problem later on, but our drug and alcohol treatment in Philadelphia could help.

The first step to recovery and sober living is to ask for help. At Banyan Treatment Center Philadelphia, we work with patients who have become addicted to these designer drugs as well as other drugs or alcohol. With our PHP treatment and IOP treatment options, you or your loved one can get out of the club scene and into an environment that is conducive to your sobriety.

If you or someone you love is addicted to one of these designer drugs, call us today at 888-280-4763 to learn about our addiction help in Philadelphia.


  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse – Club Drugs
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.
What are Designer Drugs?
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