They've been blamed for many outrageously violent crimes in South Dakota and nationwide.
Now, attorneys on both sides of the criminal justice system are saying they've seen the short term effects of synthetic drug use and they're far more dangerous and damaging than anyone can imagine.
Believe it or not, mother of four Betty Mowry remembers a time free of
"The worst thing we had was a cigarette or beer," said Mowry.
That's certainly not the case now. Synthetic drugs are
widely available and according to law enforcement- highly dangerous.
"Both sides of the courtroom, we just look at each other and think 'this is bad, its ruining lives'," said Rapid City Defense Attorney Tim Rensch.
"We've seen a lot of these cases where kids have lost their
minds,"said Pennington County State's Attorney Tim Rensch.
Brenner sees about 10 cases of synthetic drug use come through his office each month.
He says about half of those users experience severe mental consequences as a result.
"One kid was trying to drive through vehicles, one kid was on a roof at a tall
building saying he was going to end his life,"said Brenner.
"They're being diagnosed with psychosis, they have delusions and in some cases [doctors] say they aren't coming back from that," said Rensch.
Those in the justice system hope the drugs dangerous reputation will deter the curious.
"They say it was a crazy trip and they probably wouldn't want
to do it again because they couldn't' control what they were doing," said sixteen year old Sergio Munoz, who has friends who have tried synthetic drugs.
"I'm just so sorry that they're here. I don't know how things like that began. Its terrible parents have to fight that," said Mowry.
A new bill passing into effect this month now classifies many known synthetic drugs as controlled substances...and allows prosecutors to charge those who possess them with a felony.
Brenner says while the chemicals in synthetic drugs constantly change, the new legislation passed this year in South Dakota, will be updated to catch most variations of the new synthetic drugs that are released.