A Digital Market – A Synthetic Drug

synthetic-drugThe demand for synthetic drugs in the United States continues to grow as lawmakers and police officials struggle with how to contain what has become a billion dollar industry. Synthetic drugs are far from benign; everyday news stories about horrific incidents involving these types of drugs grab the public’s attention. Users of synthetic drug have little way of knowing what they are consuming and the side effects that will follow.

Synthetic drug manufactures are constantly altering the formula to stay one step ahead of U.S. bans. After reformulating, there is little, if any, testing to determine the side effects one might expect. The results vary, but synthetic drug use often involves temporary psychosis and violent behavior.

Chinese Origins

Today, the bulk of synthetic drugs is being manufactured in China where there is little oversight and even less regulation. American synthetic drug dealers are purchasing these dangerous drugs online with little difficulty, the Miami Herald reports. Smuggling synthetic drugs into the U.S. does not involve “mules,” the USPS and other private shipping companies do just fine.

“There is no typical drug dealer anymore,” said South Florida’s U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer. “It’s easy to get access to this stuff. It’s less dangerous and less risky. These new drug dealers are using the Internet, and all they need is a runner to go intercept the package from overseas.”

The most common synthetic drugs ordered from China include:

  • Bath Salts
  • Flakka
  • Spice
  • Molly
  • NBOMe

Perpetual Changes – Constant Danger

As soon as the United States issues a ban on a synthetic drug or a chemical used to make a particular drug, Chinese chemists alter their formulation. The next shipment to find its way into the country will likely be a formulation that has not been banned. It also means that the side effects that come along with the new product are anyone’s guess.

“They’re way ahead of us,” Kevin Stanfill, Assistant Special Agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Miami Field Division, said of the Chinese synthetic drug distributors. “They watch the news; they see the reports. It’s ever changing, and we have to change with the times.”

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