A.G. Schneiderman Wins Permanent Injunction Against Designer Drug Company That Peddled Drugs Statewide

A.G. Schneiderman Wins Permanent Injunction Against Designer Drug Company That Peddled Drugs Statewide

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced today that the online designer drug company “Surrealistic Sensations,” operated by Michael Jamail, is permanently enjoined from selling designer drugs. Consistent with the Attorney General's allegations, Bronx Supreme Court Justice Lizbeth Gonzalez found the drugs were mislabeled, misbranded and injurious to the public.  In a March 8, 2016 Decision & Order, Justice Lizbeth Gonzalez ordered Jamail to comply with all applicable state, local and federal labeling requirements with respect to the sale, distribution and promotion of his products. According to the decision, the misrepresentations Surrealistic Sensations made in regards to the side effects of its drugs were “alarming.” A hearing to determine restitution, damages and civil penalties was ! also ordered. 

“The Court’s decision is a resounding victory in our efforts to clean the shelves of designer drugs across New York State,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Designer drugs are dangerous, insidious substances, and have contributed to a public health crisis across the nation. We must be vigilant and relentless in our efforts to remove these mislabeled and misbranded street drug alternatives from our neighborhoods.” 

The Court’s decision and order follows an investigation commenced late last year, in which an Attorney General investigator made multiple drug purchases from the designer drug company Surrealistic Sensations.  As alleged in the Attorney General's petitions, Surrealistic Sensations, which is based in Lackawanna in Erie County, sold designer drugs online to consumers for delivery in the Bronx and elsewhere. During arguments before Justice Gonzalez, Surrealistic Sensations claimed it did not sell recreational drugs or make any assertions that its products were intended for human consumption.  However, according to Justice Gonzalez, “the stark contrast between Surrealistic’s online representation and the labeling of its ethnobotanical ! products is alarming.”

The Court’s decision and order extensively referenced the affidavit of Dr. Maja Lundborg-Gray, who oversees the Emergency Department at Samaritan Medical Center and is a board-certified physician in emergency medicine.  Dr. Lunborg-Gray’s affidavit indicates that the drugs purchased from Surrealistic Sensations pose serious health hazards, including hallucinations, seizures, tachycardia (rapid heartbeat), extreme paranoia, panic, vomiting, suicidal and homicidal thoughts, and even death.  Yet despite serious health concerns, Surrealistic Sensations’ warning labels consistently failed to identify potential dangers.  Instead, the company falsely advertised its drugs as medicine that could effectively treat ailments such as anxiety, depression, ADHD and even cancer.  The Court was not swayed by Surrealistic! Sensations’ arguments and ruled that the company was in violation of several of New York’s false labeling, misbranding, false advertising, deceptive practices, and business registration laws. 

It was also clear that Surrealistic Sensations was targeting kids and young adults.  Many of its products were available as hard candy and chocolate bars.

These substances, known as "designer drugs" have psychoactive effects similar to those of more commonly known street drugs, but they are typically packaged with innocuous labels and graphics to give the misleading impression that they are harmless.  Designer drugs have contributed to a public health crisis in New York State and across the nation, and attempts to stop their spread by outlawing specific chemicals have been of limited success.

This court decision on Surrealistic Sensations is the most recent win in a host of designer drug cases brought by the Attorney General’s Office to crackdown on the surge of synthetic marijuana and designer drug sales across the state.  The initiative, which began in 2012, successfully removed street drug alternatives and designer drugs from the shelves of numerous head shops across New York. The Attorney General’s office has filed dozens of lawsuits against head shops that sold designer drugs, which resulted in judges across the state issuing permanent injunctions barring 22 stores from selling these products. The r! ulings came after the office showed the products were illegal because their contents were not properly labeled, thus violating state and federal laws. 

"I applaud Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for getting an injunction against this business that mislead the public by selling synthetic drugs with misleading labels. I'm proud that in the Senate we've passed my legislation to crackdown on K2 and other synthetic drugs and businesses engaging in K2 sales. Together I know we will KO K2 throughout New York State," said Senator Jeff Klein

“I commend Attorney General Schneiderman for cracking down on unscrupulous businesses and keeping K2 off the shelves,” said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “Time and time again, manufacturers are trying to circumvent the legal system by coming up with creative ways to sell synthetic marijuana. It’s reprehensible to think that there are vendors are still trying to push this very dangerous and unpredictable drug, especially to minors. As someone who represents a district where such a drug was the epicenter, this was an issue that was of great personal importance to me and I’m proud that my Council colleagues and I passed a series of bills last year to combat the sale of synthetic marijuana.”

“Companies like ‘Surrealist Sensations’ have no place in our communities. Not only do designer drugs have dangerous side effects, they have contributed to a public health crisis in New York City and nationwide. The permanent injunction achieved by Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman will help keep our streets safe and protect vulnerable populations from designer drugs that appear harmless,” said Congressman Jose Serrano.

The investigation was conducted by Attorney General Investigator Chad Shelmidine and Supervising Investigator Jonathan Woods.

This case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General in Charge of the Harlem Regional Office Roberto G. Lebron and Deanna Nelson (Watertown Regional Office) with Assistant Attorneys General Jason M. Clark and James Morrisey.  The regional offices are led by Executive Deputy Attorney General for Regional Offices Martin J. Mack.