Tripping Over Legal Highs

Why the Controlled Substances Analogue Enforcement Act is Ineffective Against Designer Drugs

Though the United States has an established framework of classifying and combating traditional drugs, the relatively new problem of synthetic drugs calls for a similarly new solution. This Note discusses the established legal tools we have used in the past and highlights their insufficiencies in contending with synthetic drugs. It also methods implemented in other countries, along with proposed solutions that have popped up in our legislature in recent years.

Ultimately, this Note recognizes that our status quo drug laws were built for a different time and are too slow to react to the analogues and synthetics of today. To update the laws suitable for this new frontier, this Note proposes four changes. First, this Note suggests that the United States amend the Controlled Substances Act to eliminate loopholes and allow for more flexible scheduling. Second, it advises that we take a second look at our current scheduling to ensure that it comports with our current knowledge of drugs. Third, it suggests that we legalize those drugs that we know are less harmful. Finally, it recommends that we promote education about drugs, both legal and illegal. With the changes this Note proposes, our drug laws can be updated for the modern era and the challenges we now face

The full text of this Note is available to download as a PDF.