The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has announced that it will
move to ban three chemicals that are commonly found in a designer drug
sold as bath salts. The ban will be put in place in about a month and
will make bath salts products containing MDPV, methylone or mephedrone
illegal to make, distribute, sell or
possess. Most bath salts products are believed to carry one or more of these substances.
The designer drugs are synthetic equivalents to meth or cocaine. They are
readily available in convenience stores or online, and people sometimes
use them as legal alternatives to illegal drugs that will not show on
drug tests. Thirty states have so far made some chemicals found in the
designer drugs illegal and now it will be illegal in Maryland to sell
or possess these drugs under federal law.
Health officials and law enforcement officials have expressed concern over
increasing reports of people committing suicide or violent crimes while
under the influence of synthetic drugs. Rising reports of people becoming
violently ill or dying after taking the drugs have also raised concerns.
One problem is that the synthetic drugs’ chemical make-up can be
highly variable, which could increase the risk of an overdose.
Federal and state authorities have been trying to figure out how to keep
up with the manufacture and use of designer drugs in an effort to crack
down on the drugs. If the drugs are specifically made and sold for the
purposes of human consumption in order to mimic the effects of already
illegal drugs and with no other purpose, they are technically also illegal
under the Federal Analog Act. There have not been many charges brought
under this federal law because it can be difficult to prove a seller’s intent.
Source: Star Tribune, “DEA clamps down on synthetic drugs,” Larry Oakes, Sept. 8, 2011