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Synthetic drugs may be difficult to classify and regulate

In Washington and across the U.S., the presence of illicit drugs in a variety of settings is an unfortunate reality. Those who frequently attend club parties, concerts or similar events may wish to understand the laws and classifications of different types of drugs in order to better recognize and avoid these substances. Individuals who distribute or possess natural or synthetic drugs may be taken into custody and charged with a crime, even if those people are unsure of a drug's composition.

Illicit drugs typically fall into three categories, based on how they are manufactured. A natural drug is one that is naturally occurring, such as marijuana, while a drug that is derived from a plant or other natural source is called a derivative. The final category used by law enforcement is 'synthetic" drugs. Synthetics are those made by mixing chemical compounds, and they include party drugs such as ecstasy and LSD as well as bath salts and spice, the latter considered a type of synthetic marijuana.

When new synthetic drug compounds begin to circulate, it may take time for authorities to recognize that compound and then classify it as an illicit substance. According to legal professionals, it is during this pre-classification stage that drugs are the most dangerous. Synthetic drugs often contain components that should not be smoked or otherwise ingested, potentially making these compounds hazardous or even lethal.

No matter its classification, the possession or distribution of an illicit drug is a crime in most jurisdictions. Those facing drug charges in Washington may wish to consult with an attorney prior to appearing in court. An experienced criminal defense attorney may attempt to seek reduced charges or request probation, fines and participation in a drug diversion program in lieu of incarceration.

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