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Charged With A Drug Crime?


Schedule I controlled substances are the most illegal of illegal drugs.  They do not have any legally approved medical uses, and it is illegal to possess them under any circumstances.  By contrast, the drugs on the other four schedules have at least one legally acknowledged medical application.  In other words, what the drugs on a given schedule have in common is not their chemical composition, their half-life, or the dose generally considered fatal to humans, but rather the Drug Enforcement Agency’s assessment, subjective as it may be, of how dangerous the drugs are.  Fentanyl, the drug that causes more overdose deaths than any other, is a Schedule II controlled substance.  So is cocaine, the supervillain of the 1980s War on Drugs.  Both of these drugs have legally accepted medical uses, though; fentanyl is widely used as a painkiller and anesthetic in hospital settings, and cocaine is legal for topical use to prevent bleeding during eye surgery, although it is rarely used in a clinical setting today.  Just because the DEA has not formally scheduled a drug does not mean you cannot get in trouble for possessing it; many drug cases involve substances that exist in legal gray areas, because drug mixtures sold on the street often contain a combination of controlled substances and legally uncategorized ones.  Here, our Miami drug crimes defense lawyer explains the legal status of a synthetic cathinone called MDPV and its role in a criminal case that is currently pending in Palm Beach County.

MDPV: The Story of a Synthetic Cathinone

Methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) is one of many synthetic cathinones that have been identified and categorized according to the Controlled Substances Act.  The identifying characteristic of synthetic cathinones is that they have a similar chemical structure to cathinone, the psychoactive compound in the leaves of the Catha edulis plant, which grows in Yemen and East Africa, where it is used recreationally and known as khat.  MDPV, like other synthetic cathinones, is a stimulant.  It increases blood pressure and heart rate and decreases appetite.

Not all synthetic cathinones affect users in exactly the same way.  While all synthetic cathinones can be addictive, dependence on MDPV develops especially quickly and, based on animal studies, it appears that cravings for the drug are especially intense.  It is against the law to conduct clinical trials on the effects of Schedule I controlled substances on humans, but it appears that, when people take MDPV and cocaine in combination with each other, MDPV amplifies the effects of cocaine.

MDPV has been listed as a Schedule I controlled substance since 2004.  Before that, it could be found for sale at gas stations.  Like other synthetic cathinones, it tended to be marketed as bath salts or as an herbal supplement.

Riviera Beach Woman Charged With Drug Trafficking After Police Find Cocaine and MDPV in Motel Room

A Palm Beach County woman is currently facing several felony charges, including drug trafficking and child neglect.  In the summer of 2023, Tiffany Raines had recently moved out of her apartment in Riviera Beach and was staying in a Super 8 motel on Blue Heron Boulevard with her one-year-old child.  The Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office began to suspect that Raines was selling drugs out of her motel room.  One day, deputies stopped Raines as she and her child were returning to their motel room after an errand.  Deputies searched the room and found 2.7 grams of crack cocaine and just under one gram of MDPV.  The cocaine appeared to be packaged for sale.  The deputies also found drug paraphernalia, including pipes and a scale.  Later, the PBSO searched the apartment where Raines had previously lived and found illegal drugs and firearms.

Raines, 33, is currently facing four felony charges, including drug trafficking, possession of cocaine with intent to sell, firearms offenses, and child neglect.  News reports did not indicate whether she has a prior criminal record.  Like all defendants in criminal cases, she is presumed innocent until proven guilty.  Defendants in drug trafficking cases are often able to reduce their charges by participating in ongoing investigations into the drug trafficking operation.  The child has been placed in the custody of another family member while the case against Raines is pending.

Contact Our Criminal Defense Attorneys

A South Florida criminal defense lawyer can help you if you are being accused of possession or sale of synthetic cathinones or other illegal drugs.  Contact Ratzan & Faccidomo in Miami, Florida for a free, confidential consultation about your case.



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