What Is a Counterfeit Controlled Substance?

Certain illegal and legal drugs, such as heroin or stimulants used to treat ADHD, are controlled by state and federal governments. This means that they cannot be made or distributed at all or without authorization. Thus, if you manufacture, possess, or sell one or more of these controlled substances, you could be charged with a crime.

But what if you had a substance that wasn't the actual drug? For instance, what if you made something using household cleaners, but manufactured and labeled it in a way where it appeared to be a specific controlled substance? Is that also a crime?

Unfortunately, some people may not realize that the answer to the above question is "yes." Yes, it is illegal for you to claim a substance is a particular drug when, in fact, it isn't. Such is referred to as a counterfeit controlled substance, and Ohio law prohibits making, possessing, or selling it.

What Is a Counterfeit Controlled Substance?

The example given earlier is just one way a substance can be considered counterfeit. However, O.R.C. 2925.01 identifies several instances in which something may be a counterfeit controlled substance.

A counterfeit controlled substance is defined as:

  • A drug stamped, without authorization, with specific identifying marks;
  • An unmarked or unlabeled substance purported to be a certain drug;
  • Anything claimed to be a controlled substance when it's actually not or it's a completely different substance; or
  • Anything that is not a controlled substance but is believed to be because of its shape, markings, or price

Counterfeit Controlled Substance Offenses

Several adverse outcomes can result from making or selling a counterfeit controlled substance. For instance, the person who purchased it may be upset to find out that they didn't get the real deal and may use violence against you for duping them. In severe cases, the person who uses it might have an allergic reaction that can cause serious harm or even death. As such, the government harshly pursues incidents involving counterfeit controlled substances.

Prohibited conduct and criminal charges that can arise from an offense involving a counterfeit controlled substance include:

  • Possessing a counterfeit controlled substance: First-degree misdemeanor.
  • Making, selling, or delivering a counterfeit controlled substance: Fifth-degree felony. If the offense occurs near a school or juvenile, it's a fourth-degree felony.
  • Making, possessing, selling, or delivering a device used to reproduce identifying markings of a controlled substance: Fifth-degree felony. However, if the conduct took place near a school or juvenile, it's a fourth-degree felony.
  • Selling, giving, or delivering a counterfeit controlled substance to a minor: Fourth-degree felony.
  • Representing a substance as a drug: Fifth-degree felony. The offense may be charged as a fourth-degree felony if it occurred near a school or juvenile.
  • Advertising a counterfeit controlled substance: Fifth-degree felony.

In addition to incarceration and/or fines, a conviction for any of the offenses listed above can lead to a driver's or professional license suspension or revocation.

If you're facing drug crime charges in Cleveland, contact Patituce & Associates at (440) 709-8088. We have over 70 years of combined experience and will fight to protect your rights and freedoms.