Police eye 'bath salts' as ban looms

Sen. Charles E. Schumer announced that he is Sen. Charles E. Schumer announced that he is introducing legislation to add MDPV and mephedrone, synthetic chemicals being sold across the country and marketed as “bath salts” and “plant food” to the list of controlled substances. (Jan. 30,2011) Photo Credit: Handout

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With a ban slated to take effect in New York next month, police on Long Island said they would be on the lookout for two controlled substances used in "bath salts."

Starting Aug. 14, mephedrone and MDPV -- man-made substances that are the main ingredients in bath salts -- will be illegal to make, sell or distribute in New York. Bath salts are a fine powdery drug that can be smoked, snorted or injected and can induce hallucinations, fits of violence and highs on par with cocaine or methamphetamine, officials said.

The substances have been banned in more than 20 states, mostly in the South and Midwest, and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is sponsoring legislation that would ban them at the federal level. That legislation, and its companion bill in the House, moved out of committee yesterday.

Bath salts are often sold online, in convenience stores and smoke shops. The drug has drawn national attention over the past year because some users have suffered severe reactions, including violent fits and death from overdose.

A spokeswoman for the Suffolk County Police Department said though the department hadn't really come across bath salt users in the county, the narcotics unit knew about the problem. After the law takes effect, the two new controlled substances will be added to training law enforcement receives at the academy, she said.

Det. Vincent Garcia, a spokesman for the Nassau County Police Department, said bath salts "were not so much [a problem] here in Nassau as in Queens or New York." He said the department was unaware of any instances in which bath salts were being sold over the counter in the county. He noted, however, that there had been usage of the drug.

Special Agent Erin Mulvey, a spokeswoman for the New York Division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, said her agency did not have any documented reports of overdoses from bath salts in New York.

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