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Is it illegal to supply fake drugs?

Have you ever wondered whether fake drug supply is illegal – that is, substances that are not in fact a prohibited drug but resemble them? Well if you have, you wouldn’t be the first one. For some, the temptation to sell crushed paracetamol or other mundane substances in the disguise of cocaine for a few hundred dollars might seem like an extremely attractive get-rich-quick scheme. However, aside from the unhappy customers, are there any legal ramifications for the supply of fake drugs?

The short answer is yes, it is illegal to supply fake drugs. In NSW if you are caught supplying a substance that you have represented as a prohibited drug you will be charged with the same offence of Drug Supply and subject to the same maximum penalty as though you were supplying a real drug.

This might seem strange, however Section 40(1) of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 (NSW) makes the law abundantly clear regarding the supply of fake drugs:

A substance (not being a prohibited drug) which, for the purpose of its being supplied, is represented (whether verbally, in writing or by conduct) as being a prohibited drug or a specified prohibited drug shall, for the purposes of this Act and the regulations, be deemed to be a prohibited drug or the specified prohibited drug, as the case requires.

If you have been charged with fake drug supply, it is vital that you obtain immediate legal advice. We offer our clients a free first legal consultation to enable them to understand their legal rights and their options. Our Sydney Criminal Lawyers are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to take your call on 1300SILENT (1300-745-368). Alternatively continue reading below to find out more about fake drug supply.

What do the police have to prove in fake drug supply cases?

There are two main elements that the police have to prove in fake drug supply cases, these are:

  1. That you supplied a substance;
  2. That you represented the substance as a drug.

One very important difference between fake drug supply and real drugs is that in fake drug supply cases the police have to prove that supply in fact occurred. Whereas in the case of real drugs, a person can be charged with supply even though there is no evidence that they supplied the drug. This is known as Deemed  Drug Supply.

A person can be charged with deemed drug supply if they are in possession of a quantity of a drug that exceeds the traffickable quantity prescribed in the legislation for that drug. It is because they are deemed to be in possession of the drug for the purpose of supply. To find out more about deemed supply read our article – “Deemed Drug Supply- When Does Possession Amount to Supply?”

To make this easier to understand, let’s return to the paracetamol example from above. If police were to search a person and locate 10 bags of white powder, once the powder was tested and it was found to be paracetamol, in the absence of any other evidence that the person was representing the paracetamol as a drug the person could not be charged with drug supply. However if the substance returned a positive test for cocaine then regardless of the fact that there was no evidence of supply, the person can be charged with drug supply as opposed to drug possession simply due to the quantity of cocaine that they had.

Will the court take into account that it was fake drug supply at sentencing?

There has been much debate about this in recent times and courts have been urged to impose less serious sentences on offenders in fake drug supply cases. The logical argument in support of this is that the fake drug supply cannot cause the same harm to the community as real drugs can.  Our Sydney Criminal Lawyers have argued this point successfully in the past, convincing courts to impose less serious sentences in fake drug supply cases.

What should I do if I’m charged with fake drug supply?

If you are charged with fake drug supply, you should seek urgent legal advice. Our highly experienced Sydney Criminal Lawyers are experts at dealing with fake drug supply charges. Our familiarity and knowledge of fake drug supply laws are second to none, which means that you can rest assured that you are getting Sydney’s Best Criminal Law Team on your side.

Our Sydney Criminal lawyers are ready to take calls 24 hours, 7 days a week. Call us now on 1300SILENT (1300-745-368) or alternatively 0448 142 113 to get immediate legal advice.