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Synthetic Cannabinoids

Cannabinoid chemicals are sprayed onto plant material and smoked to appear like marijuana.
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Synthetic Cathinones

Often known as “bath salts,” cathinones contain amphetamine-like stimulants that can be ingested orally, injected or snorted.
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What is Vapor?


Liquid forms of synthetic cannabinoids are ingested using a vapor pen or electronic cigarette that produces little to no odor.
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Synthetic drug facts

Synthetic drug facts

Synthetic drugs include any substance that aims to mimic the effects of illegal chemicals and may contain stimulant, depressant, or hallucinogenic properties.

What to look for

What to look for

Synthetic drug packaging can range from plastic tubes or bottles to brightly colored foil packets.

What to say

What to say

If you have concern that someone you know may be using synthetic drugs, it is important address the issue directly, with the individual’s best interest in mind.

Frequently Asked Questions


Get the answers to your synthetic drug related questions.

Synthetic Cannabinoid (yellow) and Cathinone (black) Exposure Calls

Hennepin Regional Poison Control Center, January 2010 – June 2014


Past-Year Use of Illicit Drugs by High School Seniors (percent)

  • Marijuana/Hashish 36.4%
  • Synthetic Cannabinoids 11.3%
  • Hallucinogens 4.8%
  • Salvia 4.4%
  • MDMA (Ecstasy) 3.8%
  • Cocaine 2.7%

Source: 2012 National Institute on Drug Abuse

In The News

Fourth defendant sentenced in Woodbury teen's death
Fourth defendant sentenced in Woodbury teen deathMarch 2014 – Woodbury teenagers Brian Phillip Norlander and Tara Fitzgerald had known each other for several years and had developed, in his words, a “special” relationship. “I’ve never had a friend like her who I could confide in so deeply,” Norlander recalled Wednesday before being sentenced in Washington County District Court for selling Fitzgerald the synthetic drug that killed her. Fitzgerald told Norlander that she was planning to take the drug that weekend. Soon after she did, she began convulsing violently. “The outcome has been the most horrible thing that I could ever imagine,” Norlander told Judge John McBride at Wednesday’s sentencing in Stillwater. [Full story]
Minnesota City drug bust nets five, after suspects show up to house being raided
Minnesota City drug bustJanuary 2015 – Members of the Southeast Minnesota Narcotics and Gang Task Force, along with the Winona County Emergency Response Team, employed a flash-bang device on entering the residence of Anthony Alfonso Simonic in Minnesota City Dec. 26, according to court documents. Law enforcement officers found Simonic, 45, on the living room sofa and Taylor Elizabeth Paetzel, 22, in an upstairs bedroom. Pipes, scorched aluminum foil, and other items associated with drug use were found throughout the house, many coated with a white powder identified as Alpha-PVP, an illegal synthetic drug often referred to as bath salts on the street. [Full story]
Deadly High: How synthetic drugs are killing kids
December 2014 – In the past four years, more than 300 synthetic designer drugs with names such as Spice, N-bombe and K2, have flooded into the United States. A new CNN report special reveals several stories of lives lost to synthetic drug use and what you need to know. “It’s never going to be done. Christian was — he was a child, he was our flesh and blood, he was someone who was so important to us that we would’ve given our lives for him,” Keith Bjerk said. “It is now our job to get the word out there to the rest of the people so that no other families have to go through this kind of thing and to honor our son.” [Full story]

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