Did you know 66 people were rushed to the hospital for drug-related emergencies during NSW’s music festivals? Drug use has always been practised during partying activities, however in recent years, there has been an increase in the distribution of ‘fake’ drugs.
Fake drugs are known to be more detrimental to a person’s bodily functions. However, is it illegal to sell fake drugs? Continue reading to find out.
From understanding the punishments to recognising the public’s perception, fake drugs are not a substance you’ll want to have in your possession. Not only can it land you in jail, but if ingested, it has the power to kill.
Here’s an in-depth look into drug crimes.
What Are Fake Drugs?
Fakes drugs often consists of substances that have been crushed and are disguised and represented as cocaine. They often consist of substances from relatively harmless sources like caffeine, allergy pills, to even paracetamol. Counterfeit drugs are produced without any regard to quality or safety for the intended customer. In fact, about one-third of all fake drugs have no active ingredients and those that do usually contain the wrong dose.
Certain fake drugs may include other controlled substances or have synthetic drugs with identical properties. Since the chemical identity is uncertain, it could affect people in different ways. It could lead to hallucinations, seizures, possibly even brain damage if mixed with other substances.
It may also put the victim at an increased risk of injury or death. Fake drugs are harmful, not only to the victim, but to the community as well. Since it’s produced and spread in large batches (for example, in a party setting), it can affect many people at once.
The misuse of fake drugs may also be disastrous, particularly for people at a vulnerable and developing age, such as teenagers and young adults. Common side effects from the misuse of fake drugs may include a negative impact on an individuals’ sense of reality erratic actions.
Is It Illegal to Sell Fake Drugs?
Yes, it is illegal to sell fake drugs. In NSW, the penalty for selling illegal fake drugs may be the same as being charged with the same offence as drug supply. As a result, you run the risk of receiving the same punishment as if you were supplying a real drug.
“a substance (not being a prohibited drug) which, for the purpose of its being supplied, is represented (whether verbally, in writing or by conduct) as being a prohibited drug or a specified prohibited drug, for the purposes of this Act and the regulations, be deemed to be a prohibited drug or the specified drug, as the case requires.”
Drug supply carries harsh sentences. Thus, it’s important to know the laws around fake drugs. For example, what is the legal limit, and if charged, what alternative punishments could you face?
If you’ve been charged with fake drug supply, it’s essential that you seek legal advice immediately. We urge you to contact our office today if you require legal assistance.
What Do the Police Have to Prove in a Counterfeit Drug Case?
Police have to prove two (2) separate elements in a fake drug case:
- That you supplied the substance; and
- That you represented the substance as drugs.
The one major difference between real and fake drug cases is that in a fake drug case, police have to determine that supply has occurred. There has to be physical evidence that you supplied the substance in order for you to be arrested.
However, what does “physical evidence” mean? Physical evidence usually applies to the quantity you have on your person or in your belongings. It can also relate to drug paraphernalia, documents, text messages, as well as signs and advertisements.
There are limits to the quantity you can have on your person. If you possess over the trafficable quantity of a drug, you may be charged with drug supply. However, there are restrictions in place to protect the public.
For example, if police search your person and find a bags of white tablets, once tested if the results come back negative for a controlled substance, then in the absence of any other evidence, you will not be charged with drug supply. However, if the results come back positive for cocaine or any other controlled substance, you will be charged with drug supply simply based on the quantity you have.
Therefore, it is essential to know the legal limits of controlled substances and to follow all necessary guidelines. Most, if not all, will protect you from litigation and help you through the court system. By understanding your rights, you’ll be better informed for the future.
What Are Punishments for Selling Counterfeit Drugs in Australia?
Despite the properties of the drug, there are still legal consequences for selling it. The maximum sentence for indictable quantities of drugs includes a fifteen (15) year prison sentence and a fine of $220,000.00.
Fortunately, however, the consequences of fake drugs are not that strict. In fact, most courts are lenient on fake drug suppliers, especially if you’re a first offender. Since the courts see fake drugs as less harmful to the community, the penalties are not as strict and it is possible that the court may make orders for a more lenient penalty.
For example, you may receive community service orders, home detention, or intensive correction orders in lieu of maximum sentencing. There is a possibility that a conviction may not be recorded altogether with a conditional release order.
Defendants who agree to a conditional release order must comply with all conditions of the order for it to be maintained. If one (1) or more of the orders are breached, the conditional release order will be revoked, and the Court may resentence you for your original crime.
What Are Possible Defences?
As the Defendant, there are numerous defences available to reduce your prison sentence.
For criminal matters, it must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that you did not supply fake drugs.
A possible defence includes breaking down the physical evidence the police found. Was the bag in your sweatshirt or in your friend’s hoodie? Were the test results conclusive, or was there possible doubt? Just because physical evidence was found to display the supply of fake drugs doesn’t mean that you were the one who committed the crime.
Does Selling Fake Drugs Occur Often?
Yes, in fact, most counterfeit transactions happen through online providers and music festivals. Dealers have become difficult to detect. However, here are some of the ways police have found dealers selling fake drugs:
Pharmaceutical safety is hard to find since people like to shop online rather than seek the advice of a medical professional. People have been taught to trust “the top-rated” and “best value” section that they don’t even pay attention to the distribution chain.
Instead, most people click ‘add to cart’ without giving a second thought as to who produces the medication or where it’s made. Instead, the price is all that matters.
Since medication normally comes at a steep price, illegitimate pharmacies make sure to provide consumers with a cheaper option. That way, consumers will, by default, choose their medication before selecting a competitor.
Fake medication encourages the spread of infection and disease. With fake medications around the world, it affects not only the intended victim but society as a whole. Since people aren’t receiving quality medical care, people won’t receive the best treatment plans, and furthermore will stay ill.
However, selling fake drugs online is not the only way to distribute counterfeit drugs. In fact, some people deal fake drugs to increase their profits. Most fake drug dealers sell drugs to gullible young adults. That way, they can mark-up their price and sell it as premium quality without anyone blinking an eye.
Most of these transactions happen at music festivals. Due to the partying atmosphere, people tend to act recklessly and without thought.
In fact, police charged fifty (50) people with drug possession, and three (3) with drug supply after a man died after taking an unknown substance at the Lost Paradise Festival. His death further proved that fake drugs are dangerous because they cannot be predicted.
No one can say for sure the correct dose someone should take because the chemicals are unknown. That leads to staggering results of overdose and death.
What’s the Public’s Perception?
Unlike a DUI, drug crimes are notorious for grabbing people’s attention. They spread fear due to the amount of chaos it can bring to the community. Just imagine what 1.5 grams of crushed painkillers, caffeine, washing power, and cough medicine can do to your lungs, especially if you’ve already have health problems.
Communities dislike the sale of fake drugs because it’s unpredictable. Everybody reacts differently; what could cause one person to seize could cause another to die.
A controversial legal issue in Australia presently is pill testing. Pill testing allows festival-goers to hand pills to a chemist who can tell them the purity of the substance. He or she can also discuss if the drug is new, the amount the person should take, and risks associated in ingesting the substance.
Critics believe pill testing encourages drug use. However, many young adults and even an NSW coroner believes it reduces harm. Since teens can understand the drug they’re about to take, they can make an informed decision about what they want to do.
Hire an Experienced Lawyer to Help You
Is it illegal to sell fake drugs? The short answer is yes. Fake drugs have become an ever-present issue in festivals and online communities. However, here at JB Solicitors, we can help you!
With a team of talented criminal lawyers, we can provide you with quality expertise and advice. We will work diligently to address your needs and achieve your goals.
Unlike other lawyers, we want to make a positive difference. We’re not here just to win a case; instead, we pride ourselves on client satisfaction. That’s why we put your needs first.
We’ve established jargon-free legal advice that way; you can clearly understand what your options are. If English isn’t your first language, don’t fret, we even speak four languages!
Also, we have extended and after-hour consultations for when your schedule isn’t as flexible as you want it to be. If you or a loved one has been caught or framed with selling fake drugs, contact us today. We are here to help!