Alternative drugs of abuse

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11 Scopus citations

Abstract

The incidence of drug abuse with alternative agents is increasing. The term "alternative drugs of abuse" is a catch-all term for abused chemicals that do not fit into one of the classic categories of drugs of abuse. The most common age group abusing these agents range from 17 to 25 years old and are often associated with group settings. Due to their diverse pharmacological nature, legislative efforts to classify these chemicals as a schedule I drug have lagged behind the development of new alternative agents. The potential reason for abuse of these agents is their hallucinogenic, dissociative, stimulant, anti-muscarinic, or sedative properties. Some of these drugs are easily obtainable such as Datura stramonium (Jimson Weed) or Lophophora williamsii (Peyote) because they are natural plants indigenous to certain regions. The diverse pharmacology and clinical effects of these agents are so broad that they do not produce a universal constellation of signs and symptoms. Detailed physical exams are essential for identifying clues leading one to suspect an alternative drug of abuse. Testing for the presence of these agents is often limited, and even when available, the results do not return in a timely fashion. Intoxications from these agents pose unique challenges for health care providers. Physician knowledge of the physiological effects of these alternative agents and the local patterns of drug of abuse are important for the accurate diagnosis and optimal care of poisoned patients. This review summarizes the current knowledge of alternative drugs of abuse and highlights their clinical presentations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-18
Number of pages16
JournalClinical Reviews in Allergy and Immunology
Volume46
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2014

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Keywords

  • Alternative drugs
  • Drug legislation
  • Epidemiology of drug abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy

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