The term "synthetic drugs" previously referred to specific types of drugs that were manufactured in connection with the dance/party/rave scene, namely, Ecstasy and other MMDA variants. However, the category has expanded and may now include other types of drugs such as:
- Prescription drugs such as Oxycontin and Methadone
- "Date rape" drugs such as ketamine and others
- Synthetic versions of plant-based substances, such as Spice or synthetic marijuana
- "Chemical cocktail" drugs such as bath salts and mixtures of different street drugs
- Substances intended to mimic the effects of LSD, cocaine, and other drugs
- Newer drugs like Flakka, which can have a variety of unknown effects and consequences
In recent years, the term "synthetic drug" has shifted away from the party-scene club drugs. The term now refers more to designer drugs that are intended to mimic the effects of drugs like LSD, cocaine, marijuana, and stimulants.
They are often legal substances that are sold in innocent-looking packages labeled as "potpourri", "spices", or "incense". They can be marked with the words "not intended for human consumption", although people still use them for consumption purposes.
What are the Dangers of Synthetic Drug Use?
The synthetic drug market is difficult to regulate, and many deaths and injuries have been related to synthetic drug usage. Underground drug markets often inform buyers of which synthetic substances are available to consume in a given area. The drugs may be smoked, injected, snorted, or ingested.
Often times there is no way to tell what the exact contents of a synthetic drug package are. There are also no guidelines on dosages and manner of administering them. Thus, even one-time usage of synthetic drugs can lead to paranoia, hallucination, and psychosis.
Many synthetic drug users have committed self-harm and even suicide while in a state of hallucination. As such, enforcement authorities often crack down on boutique shops that sell synthetic drug substances. More and more jurisdictions are outlawing different synthetic and illicit drugs.
What are the Criminal Consequences for Synthetic Drug Crimes?
Criminal consequences for synthetic drug crimes are very different from state to state. Synthetic drug crime penalties may range from misdemeanors to felony consequences. Misdemeanors usually result in fines (up to $1,000) and jail time of no more than one year.
Felonies will result in higher fines and longer sentences. As with most drug crimes, manufacturing and distributing synthetic drugs will result in greater penalties than simple possession of a small amount for personal use.
Some defenses may be available in some cases. For instance, it may be a defense if the substance is not actually illegal in that jurisdiction. This can happen sometimes since the laws on synthetic drugs are constantly changing as new drug concerns emerge.
Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help with Synthetic Drug Charges?
Synthetic drugs can be dangerous and may also lead to some very serious criminal charges. You may need to hire a criminal lawyer in your area if you need any assistance with synthetic drug crime charges. Your attorney can provide you with legal advice and research, as the laws in this area are subject to frequent updates.