Designer Drugs: Legal consequences
Last modified: Saturday, 30. May 2009 - 3:08 pm
In 1970, amphetamines constituted 14% of all psychoactive drugs prescribed by physicians in the United States. The passage of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) abruptly changed the availability of amphetamines by imposing severe manufacturing quotas and by establishing strict guidelines for their use.
The passage of the CSA pushed the manufacture of banned substances into illicit laboratories and promoted experimentation with substances that were similar to, but distinct from, controlled substances. The federal government responded by modifying the Controlled Substances Act in 1986, banning all designer drugs and all possible variations of controlled substances.
The amendment states that any new drug that is substantially similar to a controlled substance currently listed under the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Schedule I or II, and has either pharmacological properties similar to a Schedule I or II substance or is represented as having those properties, will be considered a controlled substance and duly categorized as Schedule I.
In case there be any doubt about the government’s intent to prosecute and jail people charged with drug offenses, it is worth noting that between 1980 and 1997, drug arrests tripled in the United States. In 1997, four out of five drug arrests (79.5%) were for possession.
In the country’s largest state, California, the number of people locked up for drug offenses has increased 25-fold since 1980. Nearly half of all drug offenders imprisoned in the state in 2000 were imprisoned on possession charges alone.