Blog | Drug Abuse

Made in China: Synthetic Drugs Coming into US Cut Off at the Source

In the past few years, a new crop of illicit substances termed “synthetic drugs” has been a growing problem across the country.

Ever-evolving in chemical makeup, the creators of the drugs stay one step ahead of the law by creating new forms of these substances so that they can call them a “legal high.” But the chemical make-up of these drugs as well as the side effects of the substances can be confusing and particularly dangerous to users. Even those who sell the drugs often don’t know the ingredients, and users can certainly never be sure of the contents.

The medical professionals who are tasked with treating the effects when the user ends up in the hospital overdosing, having a psychological breakdown, or experiencing another medical emergency are also often in the dark. Where do these drugs come from?

There’s no one source, but NPR reports that one drug-maker in China was the supplier for a large amount of these drugs until he was recently busted.[1]

Eric Chang

Synthetic drugs word graphicPackages with a return address label marked “CEC Ltd, Eric Chang” in China were found at the homes of more and more people who were arrested or wound up in the hospital for synthetic drug use. These packages contained large amounts of a form of mephedrone, a dangerous substance, and the cause of the unusual behaviors the users exhibited; police investigated and found a website for a company called China Enriching Chemistry that had listed Eric Chang as its director.[2] On the site, Chang charged $5,400 for a kilo of mephedrone and promised to continue to ship and re-ship the package if it were seized by law enforcement somewhere along the way.

It was an offer that those looking for a new high across the United States, in the UK, and around the world could not resist. Undercover agents who investigated Chang’s company before his arrest found him to be a personable, high-energy professional who drove an expensive SUV and drank a lot of Red Bull. And there was no indication from his lifestyle or demeanor of the chaos his product was causing around the world.

This new kind of online drug cartel appears to have more in common with tech startups in Silicon Valley than the sinister and deadly war mongers in South America and Asia, but the end result is no less dangerous and deadly than the most cutthroat heroin and cocaine drug trafficking rings.

New Drug, Effective Treatment

Intensive drug detox with the assistance of consulting physicians and therapeutic treatment are still the best answers to drug abuse and addiction to a person’s drug of choice. Safely stopping the use of all drugs is just the first step to sobriety; starting to make better choices that promote health and wellness comes next. Your addicted loved one can do both with us at Michael’s House. Call now and our admissions coordinators can discuss how our treatment plans can help.


[1] Frank Langfitt. “A Chinese Chemical Company and a Bath Salts Epidemic,” NPR, Morning Edition, June 16, 2014. Accessed April 3, 2017. http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2014/06/16/321779232/how-bath-salts-a-drug-made-in-china-wreaked-havoc-in-the-u-s

[2] Dan Levin. “In China, Illegal Drugs are Sold Online in an Unbridled Market,” The New York Times, June 21, 2015. Accessed April 3, 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/22/world/asia/in-china-illegal-drugs-are-sold-online-in-an-unbridled-market.html?_r=0