Use of illegal, synthetic drugs on the rise in Twin Cities

Synthetic drug use is on the rise in the Twin Cities. According to the Minnesota Department of Human Services, synthetic drugs are designed to mimic the psychoactive effects of traditional, illegal drugs like marijuana and various amphetamines. Even though synthetic drugs are sold online, many synthetic drugs are illegal like N-benzylpiperazine (BZP). Because of the rising popularity of synthetic drugs, seizures of BZP and related drug crimes are on the rise.

Minnesotans obtain synthetic drugs online and through headshops that label the synthetic drugs as incense, bath salts or research chemicals. Usually synthetic marijuana is sold as incense and mephedrone is referred to as bath salts. The exact numbers of synthetic drug use is hard to establish but synthetic drug use in the Twin Cities metropolitan area is no longer comprised of isolated incidents and is on the rise according to a drug abuse strategy officer for the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

The phenomenon of synthetic drug use is partly centered on younger people who are drawn to the drugs because of their effects and because the drugs can be purchased online. Many are under the impression that because the drugs are available for purchase online they are therefore safe. According to the drug abuse strategy officer with the Minnesota Department of Human Services, “Nothing could be further from the truth.”

Various statistics from the Department of Human Services report demonstrate an uptick in synthetic drug use over the last year. The synthetic drug BZP jumped into the top 10 list of most often seized drug by law enforcement in the Twin Cities area. Two high-schoolers were taken to the emergency room by ambulance after they ingested cookies made with synthetic THC.

The effects of synthetic drug use have also been felt this year. Eleven people who used 2C-E in March 2011 were hospitalized and one person died from the use of the drug. The number of calls concerning bath salt drug poisoning has gone up in the first three months of this year as well.

Source: Alexandria Echo Press, “Use of synthetic drugs on the rise in Minnesota,” Aug. 6, 2011

Max Keller has won countless jury trial cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, sex crimes, and DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. Max is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

Years of Experience: Approx. 20 years
Minnesota Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: State of Minnesota Minnesota State Court Minnesota Federal Court 8th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals State of Maryland

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with a Criminal Offense

Stay calm and compose after getting accused of a crime but not charged in Minneapolis, MN. Do not discuss the facts of your case with anyone, including your relatives and family members. Hire a criminal defense attorney with a demonstrated record of winning cases like yours. Your attorney will discuss your rights, guide you on how to cooperate with law enforcement within the legal boundaries, and build a solid defense strategy to fight the charges you could face in the future.
Expungement and sealing of records in Minnesota affect how your criminal history appears to government agencies and the public. The main difference between the two legal actions is that expungement permanently removes past arrests, criminal charges, or convictions from private and public databases, while sealing hides the criminal record from the public. Courts, government entities, and law enforcement agencies can access sealed criminal records.
Minnesota recently passed a public safety bill that brings sweeping changes to the state’s juvenile justice system. While minors sometimes run afoul of the law, the juvenile justice system seeks to account for the differences between children and adults. Therefore, while the penalties for adults convicted of crimes focus on punishment, those for juveniles are aimed at diversion and restorative practices.