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Synthetic Drugs: Legal But Lethal

Molly. N-Bomb.  Smiles.  Spice.  Bath Salts.  These are all names for synthetic, or designer drugs currently being sold legally in the United States.  The drugs are manufactured to contain chemically-similar ingredients to the active ingredients in banned substances. For example, “Smiles” and “N-Bomb” mimic the effects of LSD, a hallucinogen.  Your Denver personal injury attorney explains that because the synthetic drugs are not quite the same chemical composition as the substance that is banned, the synthetic drug is legal and therefore openly sold in the United States.

The process goes something like this:  the chemicals are manufactured in China; they are sold online in bulk; companies purchase the chemicals and import them to the U.S.; the chemicals are assembled and packaged for resale with labels that state “research chemicals” to avoid FDA and DEA regulations.  The importation, packaging and sale are all legal because the chemicals are not the same compounds as banned substances and because the labels (falsely) identify the products as not being for human consumption. 

Death by Designer

The obvious solution–making the synthetic compounds illegal–is not so simple.  Manufacturers constantly mutate the chemical formulas just enough so that the newly-resulting compound evades the ban but still delivers the desired drug performance.  The fact that these drugs are being marketed as legal alternatives to marijuana, cocaine, heroin, LSD, etc., gives them an air of credibility.  After all, something legal must be safe, right?

Wrong.  Synthetic drugs may be legal, but they lack federal or state regulatory protections.  In addition, unlike their illegal counterparts, they are extremely potent.  A very small dose of the synthetic drug will have the same effect as the usual dose of the organic, illegal drug.  But users do not know this and, all too often, they take the same dose and overdose, which can lead to brain damage or death.

Putting the Designers Out of Business

In response to the over 300 identified synthetic drugs currently on the market and the surge in deaths related to them, almost every state and the federal government have passed laws banning certain chemicals used in synthetic drugs.  However, because these chemicals continuously change, as mentioned above, pressure is also being put on China to ban the export of certain chemicals. 

Perhaps the best defense against these highly toxic drugs is education and communication.  The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) provides numerous resources about synthetic drugs, including the names, uses, effects, etc.  Information on addiction and rehabilitation is also available.  Communicating with children, students and teens is crucial to helping them understand the dangers of synthetic drugs, and hopefully to resist them.

Let a Lawyer Help You

If you or someone you know has suffered harm from taking synthetic drugs, contact Jordan Levine at the Levine Law Firm to discuss your legal rights.

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