One in 10 people around the world gets high off designer drugs

Terrifying headlines about synthetic drugs like "bath salts" or those with names like "flakka" that turn people into "naked, paranoid lunatics" make it sound like you'd have to be a raving lunatic to use a synthetic drug.

But synthetic or designer drug usage — including research chemicals, substances chemically tweaked so they are legal instead of illegal (like flakka), and some varieties of fake marijuana — is way too common to be considered just a raving lunatic sort of thing.

According to the 2014 Global Drugs Survey, approximately 10% of citizens from countries with more than 1,500 survey respondents (including the US, Australia, Hungary, Germany, and several other European countries) used synthetic drugs within the past year. In the US, that number is about 20% — one in five people used some form of synthetic drug in the last year.

Because the survey is a voluntary...

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