The abuse of “bath salts” has prompted Sen. Carl Levin to urge the federal Drug Enforcement Agency to place a one-year ban on the substances. The Michigan Democrat cited increased hospitalizations attributed to the salts as well as two deaths in his home state.
The DEA already has undertaken a study to analyze the chemicals comprising bath salts to determine whether they have any legitimate medical use, and is considering a permanent classification as a Schedule 1 substance. The substances can give users the same experiences as several drugs, including cocaine.
“We’ve seen too many heartbreaking reports of sickness, violence, and death resulting from the abuse of bath salts, and yet people can still legally buy this drug on the Internet,” Levin said. “I am urging the DEA to use its authority to place a one-year ban on the sale of bath salts, which will give them time to conduct their study while trying to halt the destruction we're seeing from this drug in our communities.”
Calls regarding reactions to bath salts have risen sharply, from 303 in 2010 to 3,740 as of June 2011, reports the American Association of Poison Control Centers.
Several states have taken up their own legislation to stem the tide of bath salts abuse. In July, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed a measure banning the sale of bath salts, though the drug may still be purchased on the Internet or through phone sales. Under Schedule 1 classification, all legal means with which to obtain the drug would be banned.
Due to the estimated length of the DEA study — believed to take at least 18 months — Levin is urging the one-year ban to avoid the drug’s imminent threat to the public, citing the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984 which allows the DEA administrator to temporarily list a substance as Schedule 1.
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