The Next Drug Fad for Parents to Watch Out for

December 5, 2008

There’s a new drug fad called Snurf.

It’s not illegal. Yet. It is supposed to be a herbal remedy, and it is becoming popular with teenagers. And its use is spreading from ninth and tenth grade users to middle schoolers. It can be purchased legally over the internet with a credit card under a number of names, including “legal ecstasy.” The sales claim Snurf contains herbs like Feviza, Palenzia and De la Amazon. Unfortunately, such herbs are non-existent, and Snurf is a synthetic morphine analog.

Research on Snurf indicates it consists almost entirely of the non-herbal dextromethorphan or DXM, the active suppressant ingredient in cough syrup like Robitussin. In large doses, DXM has hallucinogenic properties and can significantly impair the user. Ingestion of too much DXM can cause impairments of the visual field, dissociation, excitement, and feelings of bodily distortion. Some online blogs describe the effects of Snurf to taking LSD (lysergic acid dyethelamide) or Ecstasy.

Thus Snurf is, in fact, legal, and it pretends to be ‘herbal”, giving it respectability to new users. What its effects are, especially when mixed with other substances, is unknown. What if someone uses Snurf along with an antihistamine? Or with alcohol? There is no telling what could happen, but the average Snurf user will not consider any of these possibilities.

DXM, the main ingredient of Snurf, acts to depress the central nervous system, but the average user does not bother to learn this, so obvious troubles may not be avoided. The side effects of taking Snurf include rashes and trouble breathing, while the most frequent complaint is nausea, all benign enough. It will probably take some tragic interaction of Snurf with some other substance before parents are alerted to the potential dangers of taking Snurf.