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Law enforcement trying to crack down on bath salts sales

The prevalence of the designer drug, bath salts, is growing as are the reported injuries and illnesses occurring in drug users. According to a recent article in The New York Times on bath salts, there were 3,470 calls to poison control centers in the U.S. from January to June. In 2010, there were a total of 303 calls. Hospital emergency room doctors have described bad reactions to the drug to be like a combination of all the worst effects of cocaine, meth, PCP, ecstasy and LSD.

People have been reported as experiencing extreme agitation and paranoia and sometimes psychosis and the effects can last a long time. Doctors have reported using anesthesia to calm down patients when heavy doses of sedatives did not work.

The drugs are sold as bath salts and labeled as "not for human consumption." The possession, distribution or sale of the designer drug is illegal in 28 states, including New Jersey. The drugs are not outlawed by federal law and the label gets sellers around the federal Analog Act, which says that a drug that mimics the effects of an already illegal drug is also illegal. This would mean that law enforcement officers would have to prove that store owners were knowingly selling the drug for consumption.

Law enforcement is pursuing charges against store clerks that explained to undercover officers how to use the drugs to get high. The designer drug is also known as a legal way take drugs and not fail a drug test, and the clerks also told the undercover officers that they could avoid employer drug tests and other drug tests by using the bath salts.

Source: The New York Times, "An Alarming New Stimulant, Legal in Many States," Abby Goodnough and Katie Zezima, 16 July 2011

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