Dr. Nirav R. Shah, M.D., Commissioner of Health of New York, has banned the sale and distribution of the dangerous substances sold under the name of “bath salts” effective immediately. The order is allowed under Public Health Law when the commissioner believes that certain circumstances pose a threat to the public in general if there is a delay in action. Dr. Shah will be contacting county health commissioners throughout New York State, in order to obtain their help in implementing this emergency legislation. These chemicals are sold in convenience stores, gas stations, pawnshops, tattoo parlors, truck stops and on the internet under names such as White Lightening, Snow Leopard, Tranquility, Zoom, Ivory Wave, Red Dove, Vanilla Sky, and many others. The products are marketed as “not intended for human consumption”, and are instead sold under the guise of being intended as plant fertilizer and insect repellant. The products contain psychoactive chemicals that have similar effects as cocaine and methamphetamine. The active ingredients have been identified as MDPV (methylenedioxypyrovalerone) and 4-MMC (4-methylmethcathinone), which are synthetic stimulant drugs of the amphetamine and cathinone classes. In 2010, there were 302 calls to poison control centers throughout the United States as a result of the abuse of these substances according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers’ National Poison Data System (NPDS). During the first five months in 2011, the number of calls to poison control centers has markedly increased to over 2,200. This marks a 700 percent increase in the number of calls to poison control center for the year of 2011, and shows how quickly these substances are becoming drugs of abuse with a strong addiction potential. According to the New York State Department of Health, the symptoms of intoxication can include hallucinations, paranoia, delusions, suicidal thoughts and violent behavior as well as chest pains, increased blood pressure, and increased heart rates. Several states throughout the United States have already implemented emergency legislation to ban the sale and distribution of bath salts. In New Jersey, bath salts are considered a schedule I controlled dangerous substance and their possession, manufacture, sale, and distribution is a third degree crime subject to a $25,000 fine and a three to five year jail term. Dr. Nora D. Volkow, M.D., Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has posted a statement on the NIDA website expressing her concern for bath salts as an emerging and dangerous product. In February of this year, Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) introduced legislation in the United States Congress that would make bath salts illegal on a national level and add them to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) registry of federally controlled substances. Parents and teachers should be aware of the potential dangers of these drugs and should be vigilant for signs of their abuse in children.
You can see the DEA Resource for Parents HERE.
The following is a news clip from NYIT’s LI News Tonight regarding bath salts: