New Law Prohibiting Designer Drugs Now in Effect

A designer-drugs new law, which went into effect on January 1, 2016, significantly changes existing legislation on the use and sale of synthetic street drugs in Illinois. As of next year, synthetic drugs will no longer be defined by their specific formulas. Instead, the new law prohibits the class of drugs as a whole by banning the basic chemical structure of the substances, making it much easier to prosecute suspected offenders.

Synthetic Drugs

Also known as designer drugs, these types of controlled substances are often sold over the counter as bath salts or plant food, but when snorted have an effect similar to that of cocaine and methamphetamine. The most common types of synthetic drugs of this type go by the names of  K-2, Spice, Double X, Scooby Doo, and Yucatan Fire, and can be found at many convenience stores. Essentially, these drugs are synthetic versions of marijuana, or cannabinoids, but have much more severe consequences on the health of users. For instance, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that users are at risk of suffering from seizures, hallucinations, violent behavior, suicidal thoughts, confusion, chest pains, and in some instances, death.

Current Law

In Illinois, it is illegal to knowingly possess synthetic drugs. While the law is vigorously enforced due to the serious and sometimes deadly effects of ingesting these substances, it has historically been difficult for prosecutors to effectively charge defendants. This is due to the fact that under the current law, designer drugs are defined by a specific chemical formula, and by making slight changes to that formula, manufacturers are able to avoid having their product fall under the categories outlined by the state.

Senate Bill 1129

The new law attempts to combat this practice by including the basic chemical structure of the drugs in the legislation. By making the entire chemical structure of synthetic drugs illegal, legislators hope to prevent the manufacture of future variations of designer drugs that previously would not have technically fallen under a specifically named formula. The new law bans the entire structural classes of bath salts and various forms of synthetic cannabis, making it much easier for prosecutors to charge and prosecute those who are suspected of selling or using synthetic drugs. Furthermore, the new law makes clear that including a disclaimer stating that a product is not for human consumption on the substance’s packaging no longer qualifies as a legal defense for manufacturers.

The laws concerning synthetic drugs are complex, so if you have been charged with a crime related to synthetic drugs, it is important to retain the services of an experienced attorney. If you have been charged with drug possession, please contact the skilled Naperville criminal defense attorneys at Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC to schedule a consultation.