Synthetic Drug Use a Growing Problem in Texas

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Synthetic drug use is a growing issue throughout Texas, according to Attorney General Ken Paxton, whose office this month launched a website to warn about the dangers.

Synthetic drugs go by many names, including spice, K2, and designer drugs. According to Paxton’s latest initiative, most users are between the ages of 12 to 20. Younger uses likely turn to synthetics under the mistaken belief that “fake weed” cannot be harmful, but users have experienced everything from seizures and hallucinations to suicidal thoughts and even death, sometimes after the first use.

Part of the problem is synthetic drugs can often be purchased online or at convenience stores, increasing access for younger Texans. Synthetic marijuana is often legally sold as incense because it does not contain THC, although there are still health consequences.

State Representative Jay Dean of Longview has introduced a bill he hopes will help law enforcement combat synthetic drug manufacturers by placing some chemicals used to make the drugs in penalty groups under Texas law along with drugs like heroin.

Dean says that House Bill 2671 may make it easier for law enforcement to punish manufacturers and dealers of designer drugs as smaller amounts of the drug would have stronger penalties. Under the new bill, less than one gram of a group 1 drug would automatically trigger a state jail-level felony punishment.

According to Dean, he and other legislators worked with several law enforcement officials, pharmacists, and doctors to develop a list of street names and information about the chemical components of the drugs. The main focus of the bill is synthetic marijuana like K2 but it would also put U-477000 (or pink) and AH-7921 (an opioid) into the penalty group 1 along with methamphetamine and heroin.

Under current law, synthetic chemicals that are cannabinoid receptor agonists that mimic the effects of natural cannabinoids fall under penalty group 2-A. For possession of synthetic marijuana, you can be charged with a class B misdemeanor with 2 ounces or less, a class A misdemeanor with possession of 4 ounces or less, or a felony with possession of five pounds or more.

If you have been charged with the possession, manufacture, or delivery of synthetic drugs like spice, kush, or K2, it’s important to seek legal representation as soon as possible to protect your rights and seek the most favorable outcome possible. Contact the Locke Law Group for a free consultation with an experienced San Antonio synthetic drug defense attorney to discuss your case.

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