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Use of dangerous new synthetic drugs on rise across Texas

Designer synthetic drugs, like the form of man-made LSD found in the system of an unarmed college football player shot by police during a break-in at a car dealership last year, are being blamed for new deaths and crimes across Tarrant County and throughout Texas.

Such drugs as the so-called "N-bomb" drugs (known by the chemical names of 25h-NBOME and 25i-NBOME) are responsible for erratic behavior, hallucinations, self-harm, distorted perceptions and agitation. Sometimes, as in the high-profile case of 19-year-old Christian Taylor, the drugs lead users to act bizarrely and even commit crimes.

Tarrant County toxicologist Robert Johnson suspects that there may even be a new class of "N-bomb" drug or something similar on the market, since he's seen a swath of DWI-related cases involving strange behavior and reactions of drivers with "clean" blood or urine samples. He feels these drivers could be under the influence of a dangerous drug that his office simply doesn't know how to test for at this time. Manufacturers across the globe ship these recreational drugs to purchasers in Texas who find them on black-market websites. By simply changing the chemical makeup slightly, the drugs can become nearly impossible to detect with standard testing.

Hidden dangers

Many of these drugs aren't technically illegal under current Texas drug laws, but the problem comes when users take them and get behind the wheel of a car. It is impossible to determine exactly how such dangerous drugs will affect a user, namely because the hallmark of these substances is that they induce erratic, bizarre behavior. Every experience with N-bomb drugs or other synthetics could be totally different from the last. Tarrant County has even had instances of users inadvertently killing themselves after self-harming while on the drugs.

While the drugs themselves may not technically be illegal under Texas law, the state does prohibit anyone from driving while intoxicated.

What is the definition of intoxicated?

Texas Penal Code Section 49.01(2) gives a very broad definition of what the term "intoxicated" means that could fit with having taken one of these new synthetic drugs. Someone is deemed to be intoxicated under the statute if they don't have the "normal use of mental or physical faculties" because of having introduced into the body "alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances or any other substance."

Only time will tell if the use of N-bomb drugs and other such synthetics becomes more widespread across the state. Until then, if you are accused of committing a crime while under the influence of alcohol or a synthetic substance, you need to mount a vigorous defense with the aid of an experienced criminal defense attorney.

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