The United Nations drug control agency has sounded an alarm on the spread of designer drugs, which are sold openly and produce legal but sometimes deadly highs, says the Associated Press. Such substances “can be far more dangerous than traditional drugs,” the agency said. “Street names, such as ‘spice,’ ‘meow-meow’ and ‘bath salts’ mislead young people into believing that they are indulging in low-risk fun.”
The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime warned that “the international drug control system is foundering, for the first time, under the speed and creativity” of their proliferation. It said countries worldwide reported 251 such substances by mid-2012, compared with 166 at the end of 2009. The problem, said the report, is “hydra-headed” in that as fast as governments ban the drugs, manufacturers produce new variants.