Whether a person does it as a joke or a way to scam people out of money, selling or distributing fake or artificial drugs is still a crime. According to the Illinois General Assembly, there is no difference between real and fake drugs when it comes to illegal substances and the associated criminal charges. The state’s controlled substance act sets punishments as if the substance is real, and the courts will not treat fake drugs differently when handing down sentences.

The same rules apply for all types of drug offenses, including trafficking and manufacturing.

A serious issue

While it may seem harmless to pass off fake drugs as real ones, the National Safety Council explains fake drugs are a huge danger. A person may pass off an artificial drug as a real drug in situations where the buyer needs to have the drug for medicinal reasons. In this case, the imposter drug will not offer the buyer the treatment he or she needs.

There is a potential for serious side effects or allergic reactions, and if a drug has such an effect on a person, he or she will be unable to tell medical personnel what substance it was. This can delay treatment and lead to serious medical complications, possibly death.

No regulation

Because artificial drugs have no regulation, a person never really knows what is in them. This opens the door for poisoning and toxic effects that can lead to health issues. Since these drugs often sell for much less than the actual drug and are usually easier to get, people may try to use them, thinking they are getting a better deal.