In an attempt to get around drug laws, synthetic drug manufacturers created similar versions of controlled substances. These synthetic drugs mimic the effects of drugs like marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine, but are chemically different. For years, as quickly as lawmakers updated the law to make synthetic versions illegal, drug manufacturers changed the chemical formula to avoid the law. The frequent altering of formulas makes these drugs particularly dangerous since it is difficult to know how a drug user will react to an unknown formula. In 2012 Illinois passed a law to stop the game of catch up and make any synthetic version of a controlled substance illegal. A similar federal analog law makes synthetic versions of controlled substances illegal.
What is a synthetic drug?
Typically synthetic drugs are substances laced with chemicals developed to mimic the effects of marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine. They fall into two main categories:
Cannabinoids—Herbs and spices laced with chemicals that mimic the effects of marijuana. Common street names for this drug are:
- Black Mamba
- Bombay Blue
- Fake Weed
Effects of Synthetic Cannabinoids
The effects of these synthetic blends of marijuana are similar to marijuana, but they also produce paranoia, panic attacks and high blood pressure. Since manufacturers are always changing the blend to try to stay ahead of the law, these drugs are dangerous and have potentially unknown effects.
Increased Penalties for Possession
Depending on the situation, possession of marijuana may only be a misdemeanor offense, however, possession of synthetic marijuana is a felony.
Cathinones—Chemical compounds that mimic the effects of cocaine and methamphetamine. These are also knowns as:
- Bath Salts
- Ivory Wave
- Cloud Nine
- Lunar Wave
- Vanilla Sky
- White Lightning
Effects of Synthetic Cathinones
The effects of synthetic cocaine and methamphetamine are similar to the effects of cocaine and methamphetamine, but they also produce paranoia, agitation, hallucinatory delirium, psychotic and violent tendencies and possible death.
Other Synthetic Drugs
- Ketamine—Used as an animal tranquilizer, is chemically similar to PCP. Known as Special K, Vitamin K, Kitty, Super K, Kit Kat, Jet, Lady K, Super Acid, Cat Valium.
- MXE—Similar to Ketamine
- Synthetic GHB—Can be derived from GBL (gamma-Butyrolactone). Also known as G, Liquid X, Caps, Scoop, Georgia Home Boy, Grievous Bodily Harm
- Synthetic PCP
- Synthetic heroin—(Suboxone, Dilaudid)
How are these drugs sold?
These drugs have been sold online and in retail stores, packaged in plastic or foil and labeled as “not for human consumption.” Sometimes they are sold as bath salts, jewelry cleaner, phone screen cleaner or plant food. Illinois law makes the sale of synthetic drugs illegal, regardless of how it is packaged or sold. Packaging and selling synthetic drugs as legal items and selling them labeled “not for human consumption” is illegal.
Why are these drugs so dangerous?
All illegal drugs are illegal because of the dangers they pose. Synthetic drugs are particularly dangerous because the frequent changing of formulas makes it difficult to know how people may react to the drug. These drugs can trigger psychotic episodes of hallucinations, paranoia, suicidal thoughts and homicidal tendencies. In addition to these terrible psychotic effects, they also have the potential for overdose and addiction. Recent years have shown an increase in the amount of calls made to poison control centers about cases of synthetic drug use.
What is the Illinois synthetic drug law?
The Illinois Synthetic Drug Law makes any synthetic drug illegal regardless of how it is packaged or labeled. A “synthetic drug product” is any product containing a controlled substance not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This law makes is illegal to possess, sell or distribute any form of synthetic drugs. It is a Class 2 felony, which has a possible penalty of:
- 3-7 years in prison
- $100,000 fine for a first offense
What is the federal analog law?
According to the Federal Analog Act, any drug substantially similar to a drug on the controlled substance list can also be treated as if it is listed if it is meant for human consumption. This act tries to stay ahead of drug manufacturers by making illegal any drugs that are substantially similar. This law is broad and vague, and while intended to help law enforcement protect the people from dangerous synthetic drugs, has drawn criticism.
What do I do if charged with synthetic drug possession?
Anytime you are charged with a synthetic drug offense, it is essential to hire a Synthetic drug attorney to represent your case. The Synthetic drug lawyers at Tower Legal know the current synthetic drug laws. Call Tower Legal today to discuss your synthetic drug case.