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Synthetic Drugs in Florida

In the state of Florida, synthetic drugs pose a serious threat, especially to adolescents who may believe these substances to be a safer alternative to more well-known drugs. New drugs such as Spice, K2, and bath salts are just some of the many new synthetic drugs which have led to thousands of medical emergencies around the country.

If you or a loved one was charged with possession of synthetic drugs in Florida, you must act quickly to develop the best defense to these charges. An experienced defense attorney can work with you to create a defense tailored to your circumstances.

The penalties for the possession of certain new drugs or synthetic drugs depend on the way the criminal offenses is charged.

Attorney for Synthetic Drug Offenses in Melbourne, Florida

At the Law Offices of Bryan J. McCarthy our experienced criminal defense attorney possess years of experience defending clients against various drug crimes in Melbourne, Florida. Our synthetic drug lawyer in Melbourne is devoted to fighting for our clients and working toward the best possible outcome.

We represent clients throughout Melbourne, FL, Brevard County, and in the counties surrounding Brevard County, including Volusia County, Indian River County, Orange County, Osceola County, and other surrounding areas.

Facing charges for a synthetic drug offense? Contact Law Offices of Bryan J. McCarthy today for a free, no-obligation consultation.

Types of Synthetic Drugs in Florida

When a new synthetic drug is initially introduced, it may not necessarily be controlled or illegal under state or federal law. The Florida Attorney General may adopt emergency rules to add the new synthetic drug to the controlled substance schedule. Section 893.035 and 893.0356, F.S. The Florida Legislature then can amend the controlled substances schedule to incorporate the new synthetic drug.

Since 2011, 136 chemical compounds commonly used to produce synthetic drugs have been added to the schedule of controlled substances, including alpha-PVP, which is the main ingredient in the synthetic form of cathinone drug popularly known as “Flakka.” Other types of synthetic or designer drugs of concern used in Melbourne and throughout Brevard County include:

  • Synthetic cannabinoids, such as “K2” or “Spice”;
  • Substituted cathinones sold as “bath salts” with stimulant properties related to cathinone;
  • Substituted phenethylamines that mimic the effects of stimulants and/or hallucinogens such as MDMA;
  • N-benzyl Phenethylamines are derivatives of the phenethylamine molecule;
  • Substituted tryptamines are hallucinogenic substances; and
  • Substituted phenylcyclohexylamines which are similar to PCP intoxication;

What is a synthetic Drug Charge?

Synthetic drugs generally mimic the effects of controlled substances and have the same potential for abuse. The market for synthetic drugs exists because of the desire to circumvent existing prohibitions on controlled substances. The term “synthetic drugs” are also known as “designer drugs” or “new or novel psychoactive substances.”

According to the Florida Office of the Attorney General, the increasing number of synthetic drug variants available and the higher toxicity of the new variants poses an increasing public health threat.

Law enforcement officers throughout Brevard County, FL, are concerned about the use of synthetic drugs in our area. Brevard County has seen several deaths attributed to “Flakka” which is typically manufactured in pharmaceutical factories in China or Southeast Asia. This substance is often sold through the internet.

Synthetic drugs have a “potential for abuse” because they are often classified as a central nervous system stimulant or depressant or an hallucinogen that create a substantial likelihood of its being:

  • Used in amounts that create a hazard to the user’s health or the safety of the community; (b) Diverted from legal channels and distributed through illegal channels; or
  • Taken on the user’s own initiative rather than on the basis of professional medical advice. s. 893.02(20), F.S.

Law enforcement officers in Melbourne and Brevard County, FL, have recently started to take a more aggressive approach to prosecuting drug crimes related to synthetic drugs.

What Is Possession of Controlled Substance “Analogs” Under Florida Law?

Under Section 893.0356, F.S., controlled substance “analogs” are new substances that are not controlled under ch. 893, F.S., but which have a “potential for abuse” and are manufactured, distributed, possessed, and used as substitutes for controlled substances.

Controlled substance analogs are treated, for purposes of drug abuse prevention and control, as a controlled substance in Schedule I of s. 893.03, F.S.

Proof of potential for abuse can be based upon a showing that these activities are already taking place, or upon a showing that the nature and properties of the substance make it reasonable to assume that there is a substantial likelihood that such activities will take place, in other than isolated or occasional instances.

Section 893.0356(3), F.S., provides that the potential for abuse is proven by showing “that these activities are already taking place, or upon a showing that the nature and properties of the substance make it reasonable to assume that there is a substantial likelihood that such activities will take place, in other than isolated or occasional instances.”

Defenses to Synthetic Drug Possession

Depending on the circumstances, individuals charged with synthetic drug possession may assert certain defenses. For example, synthetic drugs may be found in a space accessible to multiple individuals. A defense can be asserted that the defendant lacked knowledge of the drug’s presence.

Also, in some circumstances, a police officer may have handled evidence improperly, or conducted an illegal search. For evidence obtained through unlawful methods, this evidence may not be used to establish the defendant’s guilty.

A number of additional defenses may be available to a defendant depending on the facts of the case including the length of possession, the type of possession, whether the defendant was using the synthetic drugs, and other factors.

Additional Resources

Drug Abuse Prevention and Control– Visit the website of Online Sunshine of the Florida State Legislature to find out more about Schedule I Controlled substances under Florida law. This website provides information on specific synthetic drugs listed under Schedule I and Schedule II of Florida’s statutes. Also, find information on penalties related to drug crimes in Florida.

Health Risks of Using Synthetic Drugs– Visit the Florida Health website of the Florida Department of Health to find out more about the dangers of synthetic drug use. This website provides information on the specific side effects of various synthetic drugs. Also, find contact information for your local poison centers.

Find an Attorney for Synthetic Drug Offenses in Melbourne, FL

If you live in Brevard County and were charged with possession of synthetic drugs, contact a lawyer with years of experience defending clients against drug crimes. The Law Offices of Bryan J. McCarthy is conveniently located in Melbourne, Florida, in Brevard County, just five (5) minutes from Wickham Park.

Call Law Offices of Bryan J. McCarthy now to schedule a free consultation with our skilled criminal defense attorney.