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Controlled Substance Analogue Enforcement Act of 1986: The Compromising of Criminalization

NCJ Number
American Journal of Criminal Law Volume: 16 Issue: 1 Dated: (Fall 1988) Pages: 107-137
C L Smith
Date Published
31 pages
This note outlines the evolution of the designer drug problem; Congress' response to it in the Controlled Substance Analogue Enforcement Act; and the act's pitfalls, ramifications, and constitutional vulnerabilities.
It is clear that the creation of new drugs through chemical synthesis to achieve effects similar to existing illicit drugs must be criminalized if the rationale for current drug laws is not to be undermined. The hasty passage of the Controlled Substance Analogue Enforcement Act of 1986, however, resulted in its being more poorly drafted than either the House or Senate version, with potential ramifications unintended by Congress. Despite these failings, it achieves its purpose of criminalizing even the original syntheses of a chemical which its designer hopes will have the effects necessary to become a successful illicit drug. These considerations make it unlikely that the U.S. Supreme Court will strike down the Controlled Substance Analogue Enforcement Act, despite its vague wording and potential for arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement. 244 footnotes.