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Synthetic legal intoxicating drugs: The emerging ‘incense’ and ‘bath salt’ phenomenon

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SLIDs POSE A REAL CHALLENGE

SLIDs present a real challenge to law enforcement, governments, the public, and the addiction treatment community. There is currently no way to routinely test for these substances. Furthermore, any tests that are developed or laws that are enacted will be easily evaded, as there are many more synthetic substances waiting in the wings to be released.

Don’t be lulled into thinking that SLIDs are gone with the recent bans against some of the more common substances. More SLIDs are coming, and more morbidity should be expected in medical settings.

Doctors in emergency departments and other settings need to be prepared for the agitated and often psychotic presentation of SLID-intoxicated patients and should be ready with benzodiazepines, restraints, and a calm and reassuring manner. And for patients who present with psychotic symptoms, medical staff should also be ready to consider involuntary short-term commitment to an inpatient psychiatric unit.

Once they recover, patients need to be educated about the dangers of substances such as SLIDs that, because of their novelty, may be perceived as less dangerous alternatives to traditional illicit drugs.

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