New, illegally manufactured drugs are using deceptive packaging to skirt drug laws. The distribution of these synthetic stimulants has become a nightmare for the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to prosecute, but the agency is well aware that this is a problem in the United States.
Drug abusers called “psychonauts” are creating new drugs with psychoactive effects by changing existing ones based on their research of published documents and patented formulas.
“Some of these drugs could have neurotoxic or even physiologic effects. They’re never tested on humans. Maybe some of them are tested on rodents,” reported Vanessa Grigoriadis, a contributing editor of New York Magazine.
Additionally, the drugs are manufactured in China and shipped discretely to the United States to a buyer’s PO box without anyone but the purchaser cognizant of the transaction. The packages contain the words, “not for human consumption” to avoid detection of the contents.
The DEA has categorized many drugs as illegal, but these synthetics are technically not because they don’t fit the agency’s roster of illegal compounds. These types of drugs include “bath salts,” which can cause psychosis, the “M-bomb series,” which create LSD-like effects, and synthetic cannabinoids, with names such as UR 144 and PB 22. These drugs have been a legal nightmare to prosecute.
“It is hard for juries to pass a judgment on a “weird compound that a professor in Berlin made ten years ago, and now somebody is manufacturing it in China and shipping it to the U.S. And it’s not chemically similar to the drugs you already know,” Grigoriadis said.
The Obama administration has declared several synthetic cannabinoids illegal, but many more chemical compounds await discovery. Until then, this illegal drug trade, which has already reached 20,000 thrill seeking buyers, continues to spread.
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