Synthetic Drugs of Abuse
It seems that primitive man at times wished to escape his reality. He or she probably found some natural herbal drugs to facilitate this desire. In fact abuse of the coca leaf and the opium poppy has been occurring the last 3000 years, and probably longer. The mescaline containing peyote cactus has been abused by the indians for even longer. They thought it was a gift from god because they often realised profound truths when they where inebriate(at least, thats what they thought!).
In the 19. century the structure of mescaline was elucidated. It was also discovered that the synthesis of N-methyl mescaline, would increase the drugs potentcy, when compared to the precursor. The first acceptet semi-synthetic drug for medical use was heroine. Many semi-synthetic drugs followed. After a longer period fully synthetic drugs appeared. Among these where : ephedrine, amphetamine, methamphetamine, phenylpropanoleamine (appetite suppresant), nitroglycerine and amylnitrite. Amphetamine, methamphetamine and amylnitrite were abused for their pleasant pharmacological response. Amphetamine and methamphetamine was used as a recreational drug, which made the user restless, euphoric and alert. Amylnitrite produced strong rushes of euphoria. The average man could not seem to control his/hers use of the drugs, and as a consequence, all of these products where put under federal control. They cannot be obtained legally without a prescription from a doctor. People with an insight in chemistry and a lack of morale, startet to produce these compunds for their own financial gains.
The really clever chemists avoided doing anything illegal by creating pharmacologically-active compunds, which where derived from known illegal drugs.
Not only where they able to produce similar compounds, but many of the new compunds where much more potent than the original drug. This created the so- called designer drug phenomenon. A very common abused drug is a resulat of this