Law enforcement officials generally have a easy time enforcing traditional narcotics laws, but these same officers are playing a game of cat and mouse when it comes to new, constant evolving synthetic drugs.
According to a report, federal law enforcement officials at the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) are having a difficult time applying criminal charges to offenders who are producing drugs so new that they haven’t even been outlawed yet. Law enforcement officials state that drug producers have an endless supply of chemicals and can combine these substances in infinite ways to create new and unique methods for users to get high.
The designer synthetic drugs are constantly evolving and law makers are unable to react quickly enough to pass laws making these new substances illegal. As a result, police are constantly adjusting to shifting strategies in the drug production community. The days when police only had to worry about simple drug arrests such as marijuana possession, and their primary concerns were three or four traditional substances, like heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine.
Now, the DEA uses a small army of chemists in a lab in suburban Washington, D.C. These chemists’ task is to stay ahead of the drug producers by anticipating the next popular chemical substances before they hit the streets. This so-called “war on synthetic drugs” has incredibly high stakes, as many of the newer drugs are chemically unstable or simply dangerous, which has created a tangible public health scare. In addition, drug dealers are able to sell many of these synthetic drugs online under the guise of regular household products. Bath salts, for example, are regularly sold online and used by some addicts to create a dangerous multiple-day high. And, while bizarre synthetic drugslike bath salts gain plenty of media attention, synthetic variations on more traditional drugs like marijuana and cocaine are giving police bigger headaches.
Today, 43 states had passed legislation banning some of the chemicals in synthetic marijuana, or other synthetic drugs. Legislation for other newly developed drugs has been slow to develop. Thus far, only Florida has passed legislation banning the sale of bath salts.
The slow pace of legislation has frustrated police officers, who often have to release suspected criminals when the substances found in raids turn out to be legal, despite their obviously dangerous properties. In addition, police often face long delays when they try to test the chemical compounds that compose seized drugs. Local police labs are often overrun with these requests, which may allow potential drug dealers to go free.
In response to these trends, some states have proposed extremely broad legislation that would ban any substances that are remotely similar to drugs that are currently illegal. Such laws, however, have faced strong criticism from observers who suggest that excessively broad laws could be complicated to enforce, and may prove to be unconstitutional. Because of these competing views, state legislatures may be a long way from adequately tackling the problem of synthetic drugs.
If you’ve been arrested for a marijuana drug charge, or any other criminal offenses, you should have the very best representation.
Chicago drug attorney Purav Bhatt practices in Chicago, Skokie, Rolling Meadows, as well as, Lake, Cook, DuPage and Will counties. Please call 773-791-9682 or contact Mr. Bhatt to discuss your matter.
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