January 31, 2011

Senator Wants To Ban ‘Bath Salt’ Drugs In The US

Senator Charles Schumer unveiled a bill on Sunday that would ban two drugs that produce a "meth-like" high and are being sold under the name "bath salts."

"These so-called bath salts contain ingredients that are nothing more than legally sanctioned narcotics, and they are being sold cheaply to all comers, with no questions asked, at store counters around the country," Schumer, a New York Democrat, said in a statement.

He said he will introduce a bill to outlaw the two synthetic drugs being marketed under names such as Ivory Snow, Red Dove and Vanilla Sky, which are ephedrine and methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV).  The drugs come in powder and tablet form and are ingested by snorting, injection, smoking and by use of an atomizer.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), users experience an intense high, euphoria, extreme energy, hallucinations, insomnia and are easily provoked to anger.

They have emerged as legal alternatives to cocaine and methamphetamines, and one or both have already been banned in the European Union, Australia, Canada, and Israel.  The states Florida, Louisiana and North Dakota have all recently banned the substances.

"The longer we wait to ban the substance, the greater risk we put our kids in," Schumer said.

Media reports last year said the drugs are becoming increasingly popular, particularly among young people attending nightclubs, although the actual number of individuals using the drugs is unknown.

"These products are readily available at convenience stores, discount tobacco outlets, gas stations, pawnshops, tattoo parlors, truck stops and other locations," said an alert issued by the DEA.

"Prices range from $25 to $50 per 50-milligram packet," the DEA alert said.

The EU banned mephedrone in December, saying the drug was directly linked to the deaths of two people, and may have been tied to 37 other cases of death.

The EU's report said there was limited scientific evidence on the effects of the drug, but that there was sufficient evidence of its health risks to support a ban.

Schumer asked the health commission of New York State, Nirav Shah, to ban the substances as well.


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