Synthetic drugs, in previous years, referred to specific types of drugs that were manufactured for use in connection to parties and raves, for example, ecstasy and other MMDA variants.
Synthetic drugs have been expanded and now include many other substances, including:
- Prescription drugs such as Oxycontin and methadone;
- Date rape drugs such as ketamine and others;
- Synthetic versions of plant-based substances, for example, marijuana or spice;
- Chemical cocktail drugs, for example, bath salts and mixtures of some street drugs;
- Substances intended to mimic the effects of LSD, cocaine, and other drugs; and
- Newer drugs, such as Flakka, that may have a variety of unknown effects and consequences.
Synthetic drugs are named such because they are manufactured in a laboratory. They may be made for a legitimate use but then diverted to an illegal purpose or they may be produced in a clandestine laboratory for the international drug market.
In many cases, the manufacturer of a synthetic drug modifies the chemistry of an illegal or controlled substance to create a drug that escapes identification as a controlled substance under existing drug laws. In the alternative, they may be labeled, “not for human consumption” in an attempt to mask their intended purpose and avoid Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation of the manufacturing process.
What Is Methadone?
Methadone is a synthetic drug, as noted above. It is also a prescription drug that is used to treat addiction and addiction symptoms.
Methadone is a synthetic opioid that is derived from the same substance as morphine and heroin. It is often prescribed for patients who are recovering from opioid addictions.
It is similar to pain medication drugs, for example, oxycodone and other drugs. Methadone and methadone-related drugs may go by various names, including:
- Methadose; and
Dolly is one common street name for methadone. Opioid laws regulate the possession and control of substances categorized as opioids.
Opioids are governed by the federal Controlled Substances Act. The laws governing opioids may vary by state.
However, these laws typically govern the following issues related to opioids:
- Which individuals may legally own or possess opioids;
- The manufacture of opioids;
- How opioids may be distributed; and
- How opioids are to be prescribed and administered.
Examples of common opioid violations include:
- The illegal possession of opioids;
- Possession of opioids without a prescription;
- Prescription fraud; and
- Illegal distribution of opioids.
Are There Any Dangers Associated with Methadone?
Although methadone can be used to treat addiction, the substance itself may also be addicting. Normal use of this drug is also associated with various side effects, including:
- Gastrointestinal disturbances; and
- Other symptoms.
Individuals who regularly use methadone may experience moderate to severe withdrawal symptoms, depending on their usage habits. The majority of dangerous issues arise when methadone is used with other substances, such as alcohol or other drugs.
Street drugs may include an unknown mix of substances which makes them dangerous or even deadly. The misuse of methadone may result in serious injury or death.
Is it Illegal to Possess Methadone?
Methadone is classified as a controlled substance under FDA regulations. If an individual has a valid prescription, it is legal for them to possess and to use methadone.
Unauthorized possession of a controlled substance, such as methadone, may lead to criminal consequences. In addition, illegally obtaining methadone, for example, through prescription fraud or health care fraud, may also lead to consequences.
Illegal distribution of methadone may result in more severe penalties than possession charges. The possible penalties for drug crimes may range from 1 year in jail to several years in prison.
The penalty may depend on whether the defendant is convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony. In addition, the defendant may be required to pay criminal fines.
What Are the Legal Consequences of a Methadone Violation?
When synthetic drugs first came about, they were an issue because they were not included in the definition of controlled substances that are illegal. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has since been able to designate numerous synthetic drugs as Schedule 1, which makes them illegal to sell or possess.
Drug manufacturers, however, continue to evolve in an attempt to stay ahead of the law by introducing new drugs which are slightly different in chemical composition than those which are illegal but that have even more potential to harm individuals who use them. Science is currently helping law enforcement keep up with the drug manufacturers.
There is now a handheld device that can be used to identify chemical contents of certain substances on the spot. It contains a library that is updated regularly by chemists that includes new substances that manufacturers introduce to replace drugs as they are classified as illegal Schedule 1 controlled substances.
This allows law enforcement to keep up with the drug manufacturers and include new synthetic substances in the definition of controlled substances almost as fast as illegal manufacturers can produce them. The Controlled Substances Act as well as other related laws outline the penalties for the following substances and other items associated with drug use:
- Cocaine and crack;
- The component chemicals used in manufacturing drugs;
- Drug paraphernalia;
- Date rape drugs;
- Rave drugs;
- Designer drugs;
- Drug kingpins,
- Other substances including opiates and narcotics that are identified in Schedule I, Schedule II, Schedule III, Schedule IV, and Schedule V of the Controlled Substances Act and the Controlled Substances Import and Export Act.
There are many criminal acts specified in the law related to these substances, including:
- Sale; and
The penalties for violating a federal drug law may include a fine that ranges from $1 to $50 million, depending on the quantity of drugs involved. The prison sentence may range from 5 to 40 years to life in prison, again, depending on the quantity and the substance involved.
For example, if a defendant is convicted of possession with intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin, they face a fine of $10 to $50 million and imprisonment for 10 years to life. It is important to note that the criminal consequences for synthetic drug crimes under state law may vary by state.
Crimes involving synthetic drugs may range from misdemeanors to felonies. A misdemeanor conviction typically results in a fine of up to $1,000 and jail time of less than one year.
A felony carries a higher fine and a longer sentence. As with the majority of drug crimes, manufacturing, selling and distributing synthetic drugs will result in harsher penalties than simple possession of a small amount for personal use.
Having a drug conviction can make it difficult for an individual in many areas of their life in addition to their criminal record, including:
- Having difficulty finding a job;
- Not being admitted to certain schools;
- Being denied housing; or
- Being denied credit.
There are defenses that may be available in certain cases. For example, if the substance is not actually illegal in the state in which an individual has been charged.
This may occur in some cases because the laws on synthetic drugs are constantly changing as new drugs emerge.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Methadone Violations?
If you have been charged with a methadone violation, it may lead to serious legal penalties. It is in your best interests to consult with a drug lawyer as soon as possible.
As noted above, a conviction may affect many areas of your life in addition to your criminal record. Your lawyer can advise you of the laws in your state, whether any defenses may be available to you, and represent you in court.