The term “synthetic drugs” is somewhat confusing. It refers to a category of chemical compounds manufactured to create euphoric or hallucinogenic effects in users. In some cases, these are designed to replicate the effects of illegal drugs such as cannabis and cocaine. However, in some cases the synthetic versions are much more powerful than the better-known substances.
Some of these drugs are manufactured in China or other places that lack the regulatory oversight of the United States. As a result, they may be unsafe for human consumption, and their effects may be dangerously unpredictable.
Indiana law treats synthetic drugs like many other illegal drugs.
In this blog post, we will provide an introduction to these drugs and how they are treated under the law.
Common synthetic drugs
Researchers have documented hundreds of synthetic drugs hitting the market in recent years. Some of the most common types include:
- Synthetic cannabinoids: This category covers a large number of substances intended to replicate the effects of marijuana, however the active ingredient in these drugs can be as much as 100 times more powerful than the THC in real cannabis products.
- Synthetic cathinones: Someimes known as “bath salts,” these drugs have effects similar to those of cocaine, but can be as much as 10 times more powerful.
- Synthetic hallucinogens: These include substances such as DMT and others that are said to generate intense hallucinations.
- MDMA: Also known as ecstasy or Molly, this drug can create hallucinogenic sensory effects. However, researchers say dealers often cut these drugs with other substances, or even substitute them entirely with something else. According to some reports, a majority of the substances sold as ecstasy contained no MDMA whatsoever.
- Opioids: In recent years, the authorities have become increasingly concerned about the spread of powerful opium-derived drugs such as fentanyl and its synthetic analogs. These drugs have been implicated in numerous fatal overdoses.
Until a few years ago, synthetic drugs fell into something of a loophole under state law. They were considered illegal, but they didn’t necessarily fit under the usual schedules of illegal drugs. Crimes involving synthetic drugs were treated as Class B misdemeanors, at most.
That changed when the state legislature passed a new law in 2019 that greatly increased penalties for crimes involving the substances. Dealing the drugs is now treated as a felony.
As always, it’s important to remember that those who are accused of drug crimes must be presumed innocent until a court finds them guilty. They deserve a chance to defend their futures.