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New drug draws attention of police, health officials

Drug policy and enforcement is always adapting to accommodate the rapidly changing use, transport, and development of controlled substances. As lawmakers and law enforcement authorities work to construct new laws and strict penalties for drug use or possession, those involved or implicated in such activities need to keep aware of the legal landscape.

One new chemical synthetic drug that has appeared in Michigan in numerous deviations has recently drawn the attention of such authorities. Often found in the street under names such as 25i, 2CB, or 2x, the stimulant chemical phenethylamine has been identified as an "imminent danger" by the state Department of Community Health.

The Department is asking legislators and law enforcement to place phenethylamine on the state's list of controlled substances, where it may be awarded "Schedule 1" status. Such a ruling would make the investigation and punishment of use or possession of the drug the most aggressive of all drug crimes.

State Police suspect that the chemical is produced largely overseas before arriving in Michigan as a powder, liquid, or even atop blotter paper. More than 18 people have been admitted to emergency rooms statewide after using the substance, which creates hallucinations and a depression of the central nervous system, limiting or entirely prohibiting the ability to feel pain.

Phenethylamine is but another example of state policy makers' work to both limit and punish the use of illegal drugs, from Detroit to Lansing to Romulus. For those who have been charged with a drug crime, the outcome of litigation can shape one's entire future. Contacting a criminal defense attorney at the first sign of legal trouble can begin the construction of a strong case, improving the probability of a favorable outcome.

Source: Michigan Radio, "Health officials ask for quick action on new street drug," Rina Miller, Dec. 12, 2012

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