The designer drug, bath salts, is illegal in 28 states with more planning bans, including Maryland. The drug contains the chemicals MDPV and mephedrone and is sold as bath salts in convenience stores, head shops and online with the label “not for human consumption.” The designer drug is not specifically illegal under federal law, but the federal Analog Act is being used to pursue charges in some designer drug cases, usually where people died from using the drugs.
The Analog Act prohibits the sale of drugs that mimic the effects of already-illegal drugs. Law enforcement pursuing cases under this law would have to prove that the drug was knowingly being sold with the purpose of human consumption. Some clerks of stores that sell the drugs have been charged with drug offenses under federal law after explaining to undercover police officers how to use the drug to get high, according to a recent article in The New York Times.
According to The New York Times, from January to June this year there were 3,470 calls made to poison control center across the country related to bad reactions to bath salts. Some of the worse cases involve people committing suicide or violent crimes while in an extremely agitated, paranoid or psychotic state. People can experience extreme agitation and require sedation at the hospital, and some have reported continued paranoia for months after taking the drug.
The next post will discuss the move in Maryland to ban the designer drug for some of the above reasons.
The New York Times, “An Alarming New Stimulant, Legal in Many States,” Abby Goodnough and Katie Zezima, 16 July 2011