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Inpatient Treatment for Legal Drugs Part II: Dangerous Locations

In the first installment of “Inpatient Treatment for Legal Drugs,” we discussed some of the most commonly abused prescription and over-the-counter medications. For Part II, we’re going to talk about several of the often-inconspicuous places where addicts buy legal and even illegal drugs. Many people fail to realize that addictive substances are being sold all around them, often to teenagers and other vulnerable people. In order to prevent even higher rates of addiction, it’s crucial that people understand where – and how – these drugs are distributed.

Head Shops

Stores that sell wide varieties of tobacco and legal drug paraphernalia are often referred to as “head shops.” These shops became prevalent during the 1960s, and they still remain a popular part of the counterculture in many large cities. Although some head shops specialize in items related to yoga, meditation, and other healthy pursuits, they often sell dangerous substances. Some of the most common drugs and related items they sell are:

  • Water Pipes: These special pipes are marketed for the use of legal products. While many people do use them for smoking flavored tobacco, they can also be used for marijuana, hashish, and other hallucinogens.
  • Herbal Drugs: Cannabis is far from the only psychoactive plant. In fact, there are likely hundreds or even thousands of non-regulated herbs which can produce highs when smoked or eaten. Head shops will often sell these herbs to be smoked, infused into teas, or taken in pill form.
  • Synthetic Analogs: There are a variety of synthetic drugs which are designed to mimic the effects of powerful and illegal substances. For instance, a chemical dubbed “K-12” has become popular among teens as a way to legally achieve a high similar to that produced by marijuana.

Overall, head shops can be dangerous because they sell powerful and potentially addictive drugs which are only technically legal. These substances produce many of the same effects as their illicit counterparts, and they may be just as habit-forming. Impressionable and reckless teenagers are especially susceptible to the allures of these establishments.

Front Organizations

In order to sell illegal drugs in relatively plain sight, criminal groups will often set up front organizations. They’ll use casinos, restaurants, or bars to create legitimate images for their trafficking operations. These types of organizations became extremely widespread during Prohibition, when bootleggers and moonshiners would use them to sell illegal alcohol. However, similar tactics are still used today to sell cocaine, heroin, and other narcotics.

Pharmacies and Grocery Stores

Seemingly benign, neighborhood stores are unfortunately host to large amounts of commonly-abused substances. In some cases, addicts who want to use prescription painkillers may use stolen stationary, fake phone calls, or other fraudulent means to obtain behind-the-counter drugs.

However, the easily-accessible shelves are the real dangers of pharmacies. Many people – especially teens – will stock up on cough syrups, ephedrine, or weight loss drugs to get high legally. The doses necessary to achieve intoxication are outrageously high, and it’s all too easy for people to overdose on even the most common household medicines.

Since over-the-counter drugs are also important for dealing with normal sickness and discomfort, it’s unlikely that they will become much more restricted in the near future. It is therefore imperative that parents discuss the dangers of drug abuse with their teenage children. Dangerous substances will always be available in some capacity, and knowledge and understanding are the best defenses against addiction.

If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction to any drug, you need to get help as soon as possible. Call the number at the top of your screen for a toll-free consultation with one of our dedicated counselors. We’ll help you take the first steps on the road to recovery with one of the best inpatient treatment programs in the country.

About The Contributor
The editorial staff of Recovery First is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers. Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thousands... Read More