Possessing or selling the street drug known as “bath salts” – which are becoming increasingly popular among teens and young adults – is now illegal throughout the United States.
“This emergency action was necessary to prevent an imminent threat to public safety,” the Drug Enforcement Administration said in a statement.
Under the ban issued Friday, three key chemicals used to make bath salts are banned for a year: mephedrone, methylone, and methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV). These ingredients mimic the effects of drugs such as cocaine and LSD, authorities said. Now, they are classified as Schedule 1 substances: those likely to be abused with no currently acceptable medical purpose in the U.S. Further study will determine whether the ban should be made permanent.
The salts have been sold at gas stations, convenience stories, and online, and include product names such as “Purple Wave,” “Bliss,” and “Vanilla Sky.” Although “not for human consumption” may be on the product packaging, the salts are commonly snorted, swallowed, or injected.
Use of the salts has led to an increasing number of calls to poison control centers, hospitals, and police, the DEA said, and 37 states have already acted to control or ban bath salts.