DEA Bans ‘Bath Salts’
The DEA used its emergency scheduling authority this week making it illegal to possess and sell three synthetic stimulants: Mephedrone, 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) and Methylone.
The action will temporarily control the substances for one year while the DEA and the US Department of Health and Human Services determines if they should be controlled permanently. Earlier this year, the DEA used the same emergency scheduling authority to ban chemicals found in synthetic pot.
These substances are often sold as ‘bath salts’ or ‘plant food’ with alluring names such as White Rush, Cloud Nine, Ivory Wave, Ocean Snow, Charge Plus, White Lighting, Scarface, Hurricane Charlie, Red Dove, White Dove and Vanilla Sky. While the packaging often contains the statement ‘not for human consumption’, they were never intended to replace Mr. Bubbles or Miracle-Gro. Instead, they are used as stimulants alone or mixed with other drugs to intensify the high, often with fatal consequences. Effects can include extreme paranoia, agitation, delusions, hallucinations, rapid heart beat and chest pains, violent behavior, suicidal tendencies and death.
Synthetic drug abuse is increasing at an alarming rate. As of April 20th, poison control centers had taken 1,782 calls regarding bath salts compared to 302 calls in all of 2010.
To address this issue, Senator Amy Klobuchar hosted a roundtable discussion with U.S. Drug Control Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske and Minnesota law enforcement officials in Golden Valley last week. The discussion highlighted the need for a federal strategy based on information gathered from state and local officials.
“Synthetic drugs aren’t just a danger to the people who use them – they are a threat to entire communities, and they seriously undermine our efforts to uphold public safety,” Klobuchar said. “Tackling this problem will be a team effort. It will take input from all levels of government—local, state, and federal—and it will take the full partnership of the law enforcement community.”
While states have enacted legislation outlawing synthetic drugs (MN passed a bill this past session banning synthetic pot, 2C-E, bath salts and other designer drugs), the federal government doesn’t have a comprehensive policy.
After an incident in Blaine, MN earlier this year where a teenager died and ten others were hospitalized after ingesting the designer drug 2C-E, Sen. Klobuchar introduced the Combating Designer Drugs Act of 2011 banning a number of synthetic compounds. The bill has passed through committee and has been put on a legislative calendar. Sen. Klobuchar has co-sponsored two other bills banning synthetic drugs.
Despite the progress, legislators and prosecutors are aiming at a moving target. Laws must be crafted to cover a number of chemical compounds and their derivatives while keeping up with new compounds that are continuously being synthesized. While the Federal Analog Act was drafted to include chemicals that are ‘substantially similar’ to controlled substances, the DEA says that the law is often successfully challenged in court.
USA Mobile Drug Testing offers testing for synthetic cannabinoids and bath salts. Two bath salt/designer stimulant urine panels are available:
• A 2 panel test for MDPV and mephedrone
• A 14 panel test for BZP, butylone, cathinone (khat), ethylone, MBDB (‘Eden’), mCCP, MDA, MDEA, MDPV, MDMA (ecstasy), mephedrone, methcathinone, methylone and TFMPP (‘legal X’).
Please contact us today to find out more about synthetic drugs and how we can help detect them in your home or workplace.