What Are Designer Drugs?

Designer drugs are synthetic chemicals created to mirror the effects of certain illegal substances. While some of these originated from legitimate pharmaceutical research intended for medical purposes, they're now altered and abused to try to sidestep legal regulations.

In this article, Health Street covers what these drugs are, tricky issues surrounding them, and how they impact workplaces. Plus, we will introduce you to employer drug testing solutions to make your workplace safer.

Jared Rosenthal
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Understanding Designer Drugs

"Designer drugs" originally described new substances made by slightly changing known drugs to keep them legal while keeping or boosting their effects. Nowadays, this term also covers substances made for research that never got medical approval. Some designer drugs might be approved for medical reasons in other countries, which means they don't fit the category of "designer drugs."

Definition and Examples

Some of the most commonly known and used designer drugs are K2 (Spice), bath salts, LSD, and ecstasy. Since the chemical compounds change often, people who use them often are unaware of their exact composition, increasing the risk of overdose significantly.

Legal Status and Concerns

While designer drugs are technically illegal, their quickly changing and inconsistent nature makes it challenging for laws to keep up. Section 813 of the Controlled Substances Act refers to "controlled substance analogues," which can be challenging to classify.

Impact on Employee Performance and Safety

Substance abuse can lead to workplace injuries, a loss of productivity, absenteeism, low employee morale, theft, conflicts, and high turnover.

Importance of Drug Testing

Implementing a drug-free policy can create a safer environment for everyone.

Benefits of a Drug-free Workplace

As an employer, you should prioritize ensuring workplace safety and promoting a secure environment for your employees. Benefits of a drug-free workplace can include increased productivity, decreased workplace accidents, and reduced absenteeism.

Drug Testing as a Preventative Measure

Employers can rely on Health Street's employer drug testing services to help create a drug-free environment. Preventative measures like drug testing can promote safety, allow for more informed hiring decisions, and avoid possible liabilities.

Health Street's Drug Testing Services

Types of Drug Tests Available

Health Street offers alcohol tests and drug tests by urine or hair. While urine tests offer affordability and efficiency, hair tests offer extended detection periods.

Process and Confidentiality

Health Street delivers employer drug testing for both DOT and non-DOT. Rest assured, with Health Street, your drug testing procedures are in trusted hands. We provide you with updates every step of the way.

Benefits of Choosing Health Street

With over 25 years of experience and a nationwide network of clinics, we provide fast, accurate, and reliable drug-testing solutions.

Creating a Drug-Free Workplace

Creating a drug-free workplace starts with having a drug-free policy and following workplace drug-testing guidelines.

Establishing a Clear Drug Policy

Each company can have its own unique, drug-free policy. Some organizations in safety-sensitive industries may be subject to additional rules or regulations. Always put the drug-free policy in writing, which makes the policy transparent for employees and legal review easier.

Educating Employees on Designer Drugs

Spread awareness and educate your employees on the risks of drug use. Remember, it's not just about one individual. It's about keeping the whole team and your company safe.

Continuous Monitoring and Support

Regular drug tests keep everyone accountable.
Provide support to employees struggling with substance abuse. Keep a list of available programs.
Consider a company wellness program for added support.

Your Next Step?

Ensure a drug-free workplace by registering your company for professional drug testing services with Health Street. Discover our comprehensive drug testing solutions tailored for businesses to mitigate risks associated with designer drugs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the function of a designer drug?

Designer drugs are synthetic drugs that are popular in clubbing or rave scenes.

Can designer drugs be detected?

Absolutely, designer drugs can be detected by drug tests.

What are analogue drugs?

Analogue drugs are synthetic drugs that are designed to be similar to illegal substances.


Luethi, D., & Liechti, M. E. (2020, April). Designer drugs: Mechanism of action and adverse effects. Archives of toxicology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7225206/
U.S.C. title 21 - Food and Drugs. (n.d.). https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/USCODE-2014-title21/html/USCODE-2014-title21-chap13-subchapI.htm
Drug testing: Clients' use of creatine - ndcrc.org. (n.d.-q). https://ntcrc.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Drug_Testing_Handout_Clients_Use_of_Creatine.pdf
Develop a policy. SAMHSA. (n.d.). https://www.samhsa.gov/workplace/employer-resources/develop-policy
Jared Rosenthal

Jared Rosenthal

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