Synthetics, colloquially known as "legal highs" or "designer drugs", are increasingly attracting the attention of police and other regulatory authorities. Synthetic drugs aim to mimic the effect of common recreational substances such as cannabis, MDMA or "ecstasy" and methylamphetamine. They are often marketed as "herbal highs" or "bath salts".
There is substantial misinformation about the legal status of synthetic drugs in Queensland. Synthetics are often marketed as being a functional analog of a dangerous drug with a unique pharmacological structure to "get around" legal definitions. Unfortunately, this is not the case in Queensland. Under the Drugs Misuse Act, a dangerous drug includes substances with a "substantially similar" chemical structure of pharmacological effect. This definition captures virtually all synthetic dangerous drugs, regardless of changing chemical structure.
The penalties for synthetic drugs offences are the same as for other dangerous drugs. It is not unusual for penalties of imprisonment to be imposed where there is a commercial element to the offending. Early legal advice, together with a targeted intervention strategy, can make a huge different to the outcome.