Synthetic Drugs in CO Can Send You To Prison

Everyone knows what drugs are — but do you have a clear understanding of what synthetic drugs are? If the answer is “no,” then you need to pay attention.


Because both the state of Colorado and the federal government take the possession of synthetic drugs very seriously. It is a drug crime. If you are caught with them you could be facing severe consequences — including high fines and prison time.

So, what exactly qualifies as a synthetic drug?

Defining Synthetic Drugs under the Law

A synthetic drug, by definition, is a chemical compound that has been created using manmade materials to get people high. They are also often called “designer” drugs.

There are a huge variety of synthetic drugs out there. As the US has attempted to control these chemicals and protect people from their sometimes-dangerous effects, law enforcement agencies have worked hard to keep track of all of the different synthetic drugs out there. Back in 2015, a State Department official told The Washington Post that they were already up to 500for that year.

Some of these synthetic drugs are sold on street corners just like other illegal substances. Others, however, attempt to hide in plain sight and skirt the law by masquerading as legal products with a disclaimer saying they are “not for human consumption.”

All of this makes it incredibly important to really understand what you’re buying and putting into your body. Not only due to the possible medical consequences from side effects, but also legal ramifications as regulations fight to keep up with manufacturers.

Sadly, it is entirely possible to buy or use something believing it to be legal, only to discover later that you were violating the law.

What Are Some Examples of Synthetic Drugs in Colorado?

As mentioned above, there are many — more every day. However, some of the most well known include:

MDMA, Molly, or Ecstasy. A low-grade hallucinogen commonly used by teens and young adults as a party or club drug. On the mild side, MDMA causes blurred vision, dehydration, increased blood pressure and heart rate, and teeth clenching. However, the body temperature increase caused by the drug can result in muscle breakdown, seizure, stroke, and even the failure of your kidneys and cardiovascular system failure.

K2 or Spice. Essentially, synthetic marijuana that is up to 100x more potent than natural, plant-based marijuana.

Flakka. A hallucinogenic drug with effects similar to LSD that ravaged Florida in 2015. Even a tiny amount can produce extreme effects.

Ketamine, K, or Special K. It can be sold in liquid, tablet, or powder form and results in impaired memory, focus, and learning in low-dosages, as well as hallucinations and out of body experiences. Higher doses can cause depression, high blood pressure, and even fatal respiratory problems.

Smiles. Another hallucinogenic substance with effects similar to LSD. Reportedly, you can get high from even a few grains the size of salt.

Bath Salts. Stimulants that people grind up and snort like cocaine. According to Science Direct, snorting a bath salt is roughly equivalent to snorting 10 lines of cocaine.

Again, these are just a few of the most common and well known synthetic drugs. There are hundreds — if not thousands — of different synthetic drugs out there that people are using.

Penalties for Possessing Synthetic Drugs in Colorado

On synthetic drugs, Colorado law is both specific and general, with language that calls out individual types of chemicals and compounds as illegal in addition to generally outlining illegal synthetic substances.

For example:

“any synthetic or natural material containing any quantity of a cathinone chemical structure, including any analogs, salts, isomers, or salts of isomers of any synthetic or natural material containing a cathinone chemical structure.”

Possession of any controlled dangerous substance (CDS) in Colorado is a felony. The only exceptions are synthetic cannabinoid and salvia divinorum, which are charged as class 2 misdemeanors.

Synthetic drugs generally fall under Schedule I, which means that possession is charged as a class 6 or 4 felony.

Consequences for those charges are as follows:

Class 2 Drug misdemeanors come with up to 12 months in the county jail and up to $750.00 in fines

Drug Felony 4’s come with 6 months to 12 months of incarceration and up to $100,000.00 in fines.

Drug Felony 3’s come with 2-4 years of incarceration and up to $500,000.00 in fines.

Colorado SPrings Drug Lawyer

As you can see, quite serious — especially if you are in possession of something that you genuinely believe to be legal. Don’t take these kinds of charges lying down. Fight back to protect your freedom and future.


About the Author:

Andrew Bryant is a well-respected Colorado Springs criminal attorney who has been practicing in the area for years. A Colorado native, he returned to the home he loves after graduating from the University of Kentucky College of Law. Now, he uses the knowledge he gained as an El Paso County District Attorney to fight tirelessly for his clients’ rights. He is AV-Preeminent rated, has been recognized for his work by The National Trial Lawyers, and has been named to Best of the Springs lists by The Gazette for years.