After “Bath Salts” Ban, Legal Ways to get High Remain
Jul 25, 2012
The United States has seen a large surge in the use of synthetic drugs made of legal chemicals that mimic the stimulant effects oftheir illegal counterparts. Law enforcement officials often use the term “bath salts” in describing dangerous drugs of this type. Despite government bans on certain active chemicals found in bath salts, health professionals say there are so many varieties of the drugs that U.S. lawmakers are merely playing catch up.
Currently U.S. law prohibits the sale of any drugs that mimic an illegal drug, but only if federal prosecutors can show that they are intended for human use. Those who create bath salts and other synthetic drugs skirt this law by labeling each package as “not intended for human consumption.” Producers of these synthetic drugs make slight variations in the chemical compositions of the drugs to create new drugs that aren’t covered by local or federal laws. “The moment you start to regulate one of them, they’ll come out with a variant that sometimes is even more potent,” said Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
As the popularity of these synthetic drugs has increased, emergencies related to the drugs have followed. The American Association ofPoison Control Centers received more than 6,100 calls about bath salt drugs in 2011–up from just 304 the year before–and more than 1,700 calls in the first half of 2012. Officials suggest that with the variety of drugs available, it is nearly impossible to know exactly what people have ingested, or how long the effects will last.
Learn more: Synthetic Drugs
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