Traditional and synthetic drugs: which are addictive and dangerous to health

According to Sedena, the use of synthetic drugs has increased compared to traditional drugs (Photo: AP / Jae C. Hong)

In area drugs spreading There are two main classes of drugs: traditional And synthetic. According to the Mexican authorities’ warning, one of these groups has a greater potential for addiction, in addition to severe physical and psychological consequences for its users.

Traditional drugs are mostly opium And drug, whose cultivation intensified in the 1960s in the north of the country, for example, in Sinaloa, Chihuahua and Durango. Since 1980, the rise cocaine worldwide, which is made from the leaves of the coca plant, which grows in South America.

Also included in this category heroinobtained from poppy crops growing in Sinaloa, Durango and Guerrero. reports Minister of National Defense (Sedena).

It was from the six-year term of Felipe Calderón (2006–2012) that Sedena discovered an increase in the number of clandestine laboratories producing synthetic drugs such as methamphetamine– at the same time, there was a decrease in marijuana crops, due to the legalization of its consumption in some subjects of the United States (USA).

Synthetic drugs are produced in clandestine laboratories using chemical precursors (Photo: file)

This is the difference between traditional drugs, also called natural drugs, and synthetic ones. The former are extracted from plants, while the latter are produced in clandestine laboratories using chemical precursors that are mostly illegal. However, both require certain processing methods.

“While the production of classic plant-derived drugs depends on natural raw materials that are found only in certain geographic locations, the production of synthetic drugs usually requires starting materials that are in most cases readily available throughout the world,” says the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC) report “Understanding the phenomenon of clandestine synthetic drugs.”

  • Drug. Degree of addiction: mild. Harm to health according to Sedena: increased heart rate, impaired memory, coordination and concentration, as well as lung damage and even psychosis.
  • heroin, morphine And cocaine. Addiction Level: Intermediate. Harm to health: euphoria and pain relief, decreased blood pressure and heart rate, memory impairment, drowsiness and shortness of breath, which can lead to death from suffocation.
Chemical precursors used in the manufacture of synthetic drugs have a severe impact on consumers (Photo: file)

Under the current administration, led by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), harvest from which traditional medicines are extracted. In 2018, 23,492 ha of poppy and 2,749 ha of marijuana were found. According to Sedena, 11,162 ha of poppy and 1,034 ha of marijuana were counted in 2021.

Synthetic drugs can be divided into: sedatives (e.g. fentanyl), stimulants (amphetamine and methamphetamine) and hallucinogenic (LSD). The chemical precursors used for its manufacture come mainly from the Asian continent and arrive at the ports of Manzanillo, Colima; Lazaro Cardenas, Michoacan, and Mazatlán, Sinaloa. Most used:

phenylacetic acidwhich can cause allergies and chronic renal failure.

1-phenyl-2-propanonethe consequences of which are hemorrhages in the brain and temporary disability.

Acetoneused for the production of plastics, but the consumption of which can cause poisoning and intoxication.

Hydrochloric acid, used for cleaning steel sheets. Its consequences are burns and pulmonary edema.

toluene, whose common use is as a solvent for paints. Its consumption may cause irritation to the eyes, skin and respiratory tract.

Caustic soda, is used for the production of detergents. Its consequences are a severe headache.

Clandestine laboratories are located mainly in the north of the country, for example, in Sinaloa (Photo: Sedena)

Since synthetic drugs are produced in clandestine laboratories, their processing pollutes the air, soil, rivers and lakes, and affects agricultural and livestock activities. Most of these spaces are found in the rural areas of Sinaloa, Michoacán, Jalisco and Durango.

  • methamphetamine. Addiction level: high. Health risks: increased blood pressure, feelings of euphoria, decreased appetite and sleep, seizures and fever, which can lead to death of the user.
  • fentanyl. Dependency level: very high. Health risks: Decreased sensitivity to pain, decreased blood pressure and heart rate, choking, nausea, confusion and loss of consciousness. There is also a high chance of overdose (remember this opioid can be 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine).

“Synthetic drugs tend to increase in consumptionbecause of the fast addictiveness, lower production and transportation costs, and the profit they bring to organized crime,” Sedena points out.

Due to serious health implications average life The life span of a synthetic drug user from the first dose can vary from 17 to 18 years, depending on the substance ingested and the frequency of its use.

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