Experts Advise Minnesota Legislature on Synthetic Drug Problem

There are strict laws regulating drugs manufacturing and distribution, as well as laws that outline strict punishments for driving while under the influence of alcohol and drugs. While synthetic drugs were made illegal in Minnesota, the problem continues to grow and experts are advising the Minnesota Legislature on how to tackle the synthetic drug problem in the state.

Individuals have been arrested for synthetic drug distribution. One of the most recent arrests came out of a swap shop in St. Paul for selling synthetic drugs.

When experts met with the legislature, they focused on how difficult it is to track where synthetic drugs originate, how offenders are prosecuted, and what methods are used in preventing synthetic drug use.

After it was found that synthetic drugs could be even more dangerous than controlled substances, they were federally outlawed and treated like the drugs they were trying to imitate. However, whether or not they are prosecuted the same depends on if a prosecutor can prove that the chemistry and effects are similar to their drug equivalents.

Young people are especially attracted to synthetic drugs, especially synthetic marijuana, because it is easy to get and cheap. To them, synthetic marijuana would seem to be safer than actual marijuana.

The fact is that some kids are making the synthetic form on their own in their garages or their rooms.

The reason why synthetic drugs can be difficult to track is because they are available online. When someone orders it online to have it delivered to their home, there is not much of an opportunity for police to step in.

Synthetic drug cases are difficult to prosecute because the standard list of controlled substances can’t be used. The formulation for synthetic drugs changes very quickly and this prevents lawmakers from keeping up. It is impossible to outlaw what does not yet exist.

It has even been said that the wording used to describe synthetic drugs is faulty in that the word “synthetic” can make the drug seem safe.

It is expected that a method for dealing with the synthetic drug problem will take a while. In the meantime, hospital emergency rooms have seen cases of individuals hallucinating and needing anti-anxiety medications or other mood altering drugs to counteract the effects of synthetic drugs.

This past summer, the Legislature did form the Select Committee on Controlled Substances and Synthetic drugs. They are scheduled to meet again in December to discuss the recommendations of the experts and create a report on how to address the synthetic drug issues in Minnesota when the new legislative session begins in February 2014.