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DEA announces nationwide ban on synthetic drug 'bath salts'

In previous posts, we have written about Wisconsin's efforts to ban newer recreational drugs like synthetic marijuana. Many individual cities and communities passed their own bans because there was no statewide law to prohibit the drug's use.

These patchwork ordinances to ban synthetic marijuana created a lot of legal snags depending on where in Wisconsin one was while in possession of the drug.

Over the last two years, another synthetic drug commonly known as "bath salts" has created a similar problem throughout the country. While they are marketed as bath salts, authorities say that they are being used recreationally as substitutes for methamphetamines, LSD and cocaine.

Unlike synthetic marijuana, there has been a lot of evidence to suggest that bath salts are dangerous. According to news sources, there have been 5,226 bath-salt related calls to poison control centers within the first nine months of 2011. That number is up from just 303 calls in 2010.

Until recently, efforts to ban the drug were restricted to the local level, sometimes being considered in state legislatures. However, the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recently announced a temporary ban on the sale of all products containing three chemicals commonly found in bath salts. These include mephedrone, MDPV and methylone.

The year-long ban will be enough time for the drug to be studied and for legislators to possibly pass a permanent ban. In the mean time, bath salts have been placed on the DEA's most restrictive list, which means it is considered a drug that has a very high probability of leading to abuse.

All recreational drugs pose some health risks as well as some legal ones. Those who choose to use newer synthetic drugs need to be aware that the legal status of a drug could change at any time. Therefore, it is important to make sure that you follow the changing laws and understand your rights within them.

Source: PBS, "New Ban on Bath Salts After 'People Started Dying From It,'" Jason Kane, Oct. 25, 2011

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