Legislative action will do only so much to stop the spread of synthetic drugs. Many times legislative actions have unintended consequences that worsen the problem the actions are intended to solve. Prohibition seldom works when there’s a demand for drugs and the means to attain the drugs. Law enforcement will become overloaded as they attempt to stop the manufacturing of drugs as drugs become easier to manufacture.
One of the main problems with synthetic drugs is the maker. Users have no way to know if the synthetic drugs are made by people who know what they’re doing or just think they know what they’re doing. I imagine that the underground, illegal market will discover ways to improve quality control on their own, but first time users are always susceptible to dangerous concoctions.
The question of legalizing drugs or doubling down on law enforcement is interesting, but, in the meantime, drug users will use drugs and drug dealers will deal drugs. Until society’s legal response to drugs is settled, the best approach is to deal with the demand. Education is sorely needed, but getting the message out hasn’t succeeded so far. Perhaps media and our education system will develop ways to educate the public to the realities of drug use in general, but as long as society embraces some drugs but not others drug users will sense a hypocrisy that’s not easily defended.
The question people will ask is why can’t I make my own drug and get high if it’s legal for someone to buy beer and get high. Now that states are legalizing marijuana, the drug user will ask why they can’t manufacture Spice or some other synthetic drug. If the drug user is told that home-made drugs are dangerous, the user will need more information than just a stern warning that’s not backed by facts and experience. Those who’re fighting the battle against synthetic drugs will have to fight the battle of drug use in general.
It’s not a matter of stating that all drug use is bad and to just say no — it’s a matter of knowing the facts about drugs and delivering the facts in an intelligent and believable manner. The conflicts and contradictions regarding legal and illegal drugs must be answered before drug users are convinced, otherwise they’ll see their drug of choice singled out and will feel discriminated against, thus creating an even more ingrained attachment to the drug — as if they’re fighting for a cause. When using particular drugs is an act of rebellion, it’s appealing to many people.
Facts. honest talk and the consideration of innovative solutions take the power out of drugs — fear, simple prohibition and over-reaction make the problem worse.