In order for drug abuse and distribution to go punished, the drug must closely match something that is listed in the Schedules of Controlled Substances. With the fast-changing landscape of designer drugs, it can be hard for law enforcement to take action against these new, dangerous drugs.
Vanessa Grigoriadis, a contributing editor at New York Magazine who wrote a feature called Travels in The New Psychedelic Bazaar, summed it up, saying that it is hard to pass judgment on a “weird compound that a professor in Berlin made ten years ago, and now somebody is manufacturing it in China and shipping it to the U.S. And it’s not chemically similar to the drugs you already know.”
Back in June, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the authorities of three other countries announced the arrests of dozens who were involved in trafficking designer drugs such as bath salts and synthetic marijuana. In the US, the enforcement operations took place in 49 cities, and targeted retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers. The operations included more than 150 arrest warrants and almost 375 search warrants.
However, this is just a small win in the war against designer drugs. According to Timothy Heaphy, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Virginia:
“There’s no way that the DEA can keep up with the sophisticated chemists around the world who are making this stuff. The bad guys know what we do and they just tweak another molecule. They’re changing faster than we can write our names.”