Not for Human Consumption: How Inept Legislative Policy Proliferates the Synthetic Drug Problem

Note | 103 KY. L. J. ONLINE 3 | Feb. 22, 2015

Todd J. Weatherholt[1]

The “war on drugs”[2] is facing a new opponent, one that is sophisticated and dynamic, but unfortunately whose dangers go widely undocumented.[3] As if there were not enough problems with other classes of drugs for authorities, a new “underappreciated” category – synthetic drugs – has gained tremendous momentum within the last few years in the United States and around the world.[4] These substances, although widely eradicated in neighborhood gas stations and head shops, remain easily obtainable over the internet.[5] The industry, which targets drug-naïve teenagers and young adults through the combination of shiny packaging with familiar cartoon characters and vibrant names such as Ivory Wave, Spice, and Cloud Nine, generates an estimated $5 billion dollars annually.[6] Unfortunately, the synthetic drug enigma facing our nation is not merely the result of these products’ accessibility, but likewise due to their easily manipulative characteristics, which help manufacturers circumvent existing laws.[7] As authorities identify specific chemical components to outlaw, rudimentary chemists simply modify existing drug compositions slightly to escape the law.[8] Continue reading