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K2, Spice and other synthetic drugs gain popularity in Chicago

Many people don't realize that synthetic drugs, like K2, spice and bath salts, are illegal. Synthetic or manufactured drugs are easily available for purchase. Because you can buy these substances online and even in some head shops around Chicago, it is no surprise people think they are safe alternatives to illegal drugs.

However, these drugs can be very dangerous, and they can lead to serious criminal charges. You can be prosecuted for possessing, buying or selling synthetic drugs, even if you didn't know you were doing anything illegal.

Illinois outlawed synthetic drugs in 2011, but they continue to be pretty easy to get your hands on. Earlier this month, The Illinois Poison Center reported a spike in emergency room visits caused by synthetic drug use. Emergency rooms took 20 calls in one week alone linked to synthetic cannabinoids (K2 and spice).

Since synthetic drugs can cause major health complications, including psychosis, seizures and comas, police want to keep them out of the Chicago area. But it isn't always easy to prove whether someone is on synthetic drugs. The tests that are available are not completely reliable.

If you or your child is charged in a case related to spice, bath salts or another synthetic drug, you need to take the charges seriously because the prosecution sure will. The penalties for synthetic drug crimes are harsh, including prison time, fines and a permanent criminal record.

It can be extremely risky to speak to police before talking to a lawyer. As mentioned above, police and prosecutors do not care whether you knew the drugs were illegal. You might have believed a synthetic drug was a safer and legal alternative to marijuana, heroin or cocaine, but the prosecution is unlikely to show you any mercy for that. An experienced and skilled lawyer will question your arrest, challenge whether the drugs tied to your case are explicitly outlawed and do everything possible to defend your rights and protect your future.

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