Toronto Criminal Defence Lawyer Discusses the Growing Problem with Synthetic Drugs
Synthetic drugs have become a growing problem for lawmakers and law enforcement agencies in the past several years. These types of drugs are created to mimic the effects of actual drugs, like marijuana, but use man-made synthetic compounds and chemicals instead. Many of these compounds and chemicals have been made illegal and included in the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
However, the biggest challenge are what is referred to as “legal grey areas” of the law. Some synthetic manufacturers stay one-step ahead of lawmakers and modify their formulas so that as synthetic compounds and chemicals are made illegal, they have already switched to those not considered illegal, even though there can still be serious side-effects for users, even death.
Some of the more common synthetic drugs you might have heard of include:
- Bath Salts
Out of these drugs, one of the ones causing the biggest problems for lawmakers is Spice. Spice is essentially a synthetic substitute for marijuana. Legal plant-based materials are processed and sprayed with man-made chemical compounds before being packaged. Unfortunately, each “batch” is often different and the side-effects do vary. In some cases, simply taking a “hit” from a Spice joint could cause the user to have a seizure or heart attack and die.
Unlike marijuana, Spice is a very addictive drug. Users build up a tolerance to it, and even though they might be aware of the adverse side-effects, including death, they continue to use more and more of it.
While law enforcement agencies have cracked down on Spice being sold in convenience stores, gas stations, and “head shops,” it is still readily available online and through “black market” sources.
Another concern for lawmakers and law enforcement agencies is liquid Spice. Instead of spraying the chemical compounds onto plant-based materials, it is bottled and sold as e-juice for electronic cigarettes and vaping devices. In many cases, the potency of liquid Spice can be as much as 100-times more than marijuana, which further increases serious side-effects for users.
As law enforcement agencies and lawmakers continue to take steps forward to address the growing use of synthetic drugs, the general public also needs to be educated in order to make people aware of the risks to their health and well-being.
Unfortunately, one of the larger growing segments of Spice users are teenagers, who are simply looking to get “high.” They know Spice is easier to obtain than marijuana and are led to believe it is synthetic marijuana which will provide the same effects. But, as many teens are finding out, it has life-altering consequences, and some are not so lucky to survive, even after using it just once.
If someone is pressuring you to try Spice or other drugs, remember it is perfectly acceptable to refuse. For youths dealing with peer pressure, there is confidential and free help available through the Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868).
If you or someone you care about has been charged with a drug offense for illegal drugs or illegal synthetic drugs, you need to retain an experienced criminal defence lawyer in Toronto, like myself, Jeff Hershberg. There mandatory minimum penalties for some drug offenses, if you are convicted and found guilty or take a plea agreement. Call my office at 416-428-7360 to schedule a consultation now!