Synthetic Drugs Still a Danger after Ban


Legislation signed in July bans the sale, production, and possession of 28 so-called “bath salt” drugs, synthetic drugs that imitate the effects of illegal drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine. Many public health officials are stating that while this is a positive step, it is not enough.

As soon as one chemical combination is deemed illegal, the makers alter the original formula or develop new or stronger formulas. These new formulas are then legal to sell. This practice makes it difficult to keep ahead of the trend and prohibit sale or possession.

Another problem with enforcement of the ban is that it must be proven they were intended for human use. Most packaging now has “not for human consumption” printed somewhere, a technicality that can prevent prosecution.

The inexpensive drugs are often sold over-the-counter in small stores such as tobacco or convenience shops. The drugs can be labeled as incense or bath salts under names like “Lady Bubbles” or “Bliss.” Many of the drugs don’t show up on drug tests. The drugs are usually smoked or snorted and can cause hallucinations, paranoia, and very violent behavior.