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Even after bans, problem of synthetic drug use remains, P.2

In our last post, we began speaking about synthetic bath salts, and the efforts of law enforcement across the country to manage the growing problem. As we noted, President Obama recently made permanent a ban on "bath salts" drugs and expanded the types of drugs covered by the ban

Many states have banned common synthetic drugs, but the same problem applies to state law. Producers of the drugs are constantly altering their chemical formula so that they aren't covered by state law.

Louisiana placed a ban on a number of bath salts substances at the beginning of 2011, classifying them as Schedule I substances. Penalties for these substances can vary, but generally include a fine of at least $5,000 and at least four years in prison.

Laws targeting the drugs prohibit the sale or possession of substances that mimic illegal drugs. But, it is important to realize that, in order to make their case, federal prosecutors must show the drugs are intended for human use. This cannot always be satisfactorily proven, even where such drugs have been consumed for their stimulant effect.

There is no doubt that there is a need to address the problems stemming from the use of synthetic drugs. Such drugs are dangerous both to users and people users come into contact with, as recent cases have shown.

The current approach to the problem, banning the substances, is not necessarily the best approach. Even where such bans are passed, there needs to be rehabilitative systems and education intended to treat the users of these drugs.

Those facing charges for use of synthetic drugs should consult an attorney to find out how to build the best possible defense and avoid the significant penalties attached to their use.

Source: Fox News, "Drugs Stay Legal After 'Bath Salts' Ban," July 26, 2012.

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