Medicine: Death By Design

They look like heroin, they act like heroin, and they satisfy an addict's urge just like the real thing. But when subjected to a chemist's scrutiny, the narcotics that have been flooding California turn out to be something else. They are "designer drugs"--designed, that is, to get around the law.

The drugs are created by underground chemists who tinker with the molecular structure of illegal narcotics to produce variants that are not explicitly banned by federal law. Thus it is legal to make and use designer drugs. But it is by no means safe, as those who toyed with MPTP have...

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