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Beware Of The New Synthetic Cathinone In South Florida’s Drug Supply


Most Floridians have never heard of khat, a plant whose stimulant properties can be tapped by chewing the leaves; chewing khat has been a popular recreational activity in Yemen and parts of East Africa for centuries.  The drug has never caught on in the United States, since cathinone, the active ingredient in khat, is a Schedule I controlled substance, and since actual khat is vanishingly rare in this part of the world.  Several of its imitators have found their way into Florida’s drug supply, though.  Synthetic cathinones are drugs that have a similar chemical structure to cathinone and produce stimulant effects.  The drugs go by street names that do not necessarily refer to their relationship to cathinone; “bath salts” is simply a euphemism for illegal drugs packaged as if they were ordinary household products, but it often refers specifically to synthetic cathinones.  Sometimes synthetic cathinones are mixed with other drugs or marketed as more expensive drugs.  If you are being accused of synthetic cathinone, even if you were unaware of the components of the drug mixture you purchased, contact a West Palm Beach drug offenses lawyer.

What Makes “Altered Molly” So Dangerous?

Some synthetic cathinones have been around for decades, but dimethylpentylone appears to be new, and it has recently become prevalent in the drug supply of Martin County and the surrounding area.  Dimethylpentylone was first detected in the United States in 2021, and since then, a disproportionate number of cases involving it have been in Florida.  In October 2023, Reginal Chaperon and Tyler White were arrested for possession of dimethylpentylone at a traffic stop in Stuart.  Martin County Sheriff’s deputies say that they frequently encounter the drug when undercover deputies purchase illegal drugs, usually MDMA.

Because dimethylpentylone is often sold under the pretense that it is MDMA, law enforcement has taken to calling it “altered molly.”  Like other synthetic cathinones, it is a schedule I controlled substance.  It is often easy to tell, after consuming the drug, that it is not the same MDMA that makes you want to dance all night and hug strangers.  Its stimulant effects are more like those of cocaine, which, although once popular at discos, is more likely to create stimulant effects characterized by aggression and paranoia.

The biggest danger of synthetic cathinones is that they cause a dramatic and sometimes uncontrolled rise in body temperature.  Most overdose deaths related to dimethylpentylone involved people dying from dangerously high body temperatures.  Another danger of dimethylpentylone is that it might be part of a drug mixture of unknown ingredients.  Tiny amounts of synthetic cathinones are much more dangerous when they are mixed with tiny amounts of other strong drugs such as methamphetamine or fentanyl.

Contact a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

Attorney William Wallshein has more than 38 years of experience, including five years as a prosecutor in Palm Beach County.  Contact William Wallshein P.A. in West Palm Beach, Florida to discuss your case.



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