ⓘ Counterfeit illegal drug selling


ⓘ Counterfeit illegal drug selling

Selling counterfeit illegal drugs is a crime in many U.S. states legal codes and in the federal law of the United States. It is also illegal to sell counterfeit drugs in the United Kingdom. The fake drugs are sometimes termed as imitation controlled substances.


1. Types of counterfeited illicit drugs

Some fake drugs consist of substances from relatively harmless sources, such as grocery store goods like flour, oregano or allergy pills. Even despite the substances harmlessness, legal penalties for the crime of selling them can include time in jail.

Certain fake drugs include other controlled drugs, or they may include synthetic drugs with similar properties. Uncertainty of an identity of the substance may increase the risk of an overdose.

A related, yet distinct, problem is the trade of counterfeit medications with pills including substances such as fentanyl which can be used recreationally.


2. Relation to drug-related crimes

There is a low chance of law punishing fraud among illicit drug traders, however it is likely that informal social control among drug traders reduces the likelihood of fraud between illegal trade partners. For instance, getting robbed or losing a business contact may not justify dealers increased profits for a short-term from fraudulent behavior.


3. Legal status

Selling counterfeit illicit drugs is illegal even if the substances used to make the imitation drug are not illegal on themselves. It is illegal to distribute or sell counterfeit fake drugs in many U.S. states including Nevada, Ohio, Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Massachusetts. Selling counterfeit illicit drugs is also illegal in the United Kingdom.

U.S. Federal Law

Selling counterfeit illicit drugs is illegal under the U.S. federal law. Relevant parts of the U.S. federal law include 21 U.S.C. Section 331 and 18 U.S. Code § 1001.

21 U.S.C. Section 331 makes it illegal to sell an adulterated or misbranded drug in interstate commerce.

18 U.S. Code § 1001 bans

  • making any materially false, fictitious or fraudulent statement or representation; or
  • making or using any false writing or document knowing that it contains materially false, fictitious or fraudulent statements.
  • falsifying, concealing or covering up a material fact;