“Legal” Drug Use through Chemistry An Overview of the Synthetic Drug Dilemma

“Legal” Drug Use through Chemistry An Overview of the Synthetic Drug Dilemma
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1 Resources
Recorded April 16, 2015
Unit 1 Video
Unit 2 Slide Deck


The emergence and rapid rise in popularity of synthetic cannabinoids commonly called “Spice” and synthetic stimulants commonly called “Bath Salts” as “legal” drug alternatives has presented an on-going challenge to law enforcement agencies, forensic laboratories, and hospital emergency rooms. The wide availability of these drugs on the internet, convenience stores, and smoke shops has led to an explosion in popularity among adults and teenagers who see these drugs as a safe, “legal” high but frequently become involved in motor vehicle accidents or experience acute health crises. In addition to the short term consequences, the long-term health effects of these dangerous drugs are not widely understood. Law enforcement’s response is hampered by the manufacturer’s ability to modify the chemical makeup of these drugs at such a rapid pace as to not only outpace the various State and Federal legislature’s ability to control these drugs but outpace the ability of forensic laboratories to develop and validate methods to identify these drugs.
This webinar provides an overview of the most common synthetic drugs including their origin, marketing strategies, pharmacology, and current legal status in an effort to provide a better understanding of the danger these drugs pose to our communities and the difficulties they pose to the law enforcement agencies, hospitals, and judicial system tasked with protecting the public’s safety. Case studies will be presented demonstrating the typical signs of impairment presented by individuals under the influence of these drugs.