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Entries in Methylone (2)

Wednesday
Sep072011

DEA Announces Emergency Ban on 'Bath Salts'

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Drug Enforcement Administration said Wednesday it will use its emergency authority to ban chemicals used in legal synthetic drugs known as "bath salts," calling the chemicals an "imminent hazard" to the public.

"This imminent action by the DEA demonstrates that there is no tolerance for those who manufacture, distribute, or sell these drugs anywhere in the country, and that those who do will be shut down, arrested, and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart said in a statement on the DEA website. "DEA has made it clear we will not hesitate to use our emergency scheduling authority to control these dangerous chemicals that pose a significant and growing threat to our nation."

In June, an ABC News 20/20 investigation found that despite being linked to multiple deaths, "bath salts" have been sold across the country with little to no oversight, sometimes to teens.

The DEA describes the so-called "bath salts," which have nothing in common with products long used in bathing, as a sort of imitation cocaine or LSD -- a substance that, while legal, has not been approved by the FDA for human consumption and has been linked to violent, sometimes deadly outbursts by users. Varieties of "bath salts" are sold under different labels in corner stores across the U.S. as well as online and have prompted thousands of calls to Poison Control nationwide.

"They're selling time bombs," Louisiana Poison Control Center Director Dr. Mark Ryan said in the course of the ABC News investigation. "We've had some people show up who are complaining of chest pains so severe that they think they're having a heart attack. They think they're dying...They have extreme paranoia. They're having hallucinations. They see things, they hear things, monsters, demons, aliens."

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), proposed a national ban on the chemicals used in bath salts in February. Thirty-three states already have measures to control the substance.

"I am pleased the DEA has finally heeded our call to ban these drugs by making them illegal controlled substances. While this is a solid first step, we need to ensure that these drugs stay off the market for good," Schumer said. "I will push to permanently ban these drugs until the threat of this scourge is removed from our neighborhoods, our schools, and from store counters across the country."

The DEA emergency ban will take effect in 30 days and will make it illegal to possess or sell mephedrone, methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) and methylone -- all key ingredients for "bath salts" -- or any products which contain the chemicals for one year while the DEA works with the Department of Health and Human Services to "further study whether these chemicals should be permanently controlled."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jun022011

'Imitation Cocaine' Killed Florida Man, Say Authorities

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(TAMPA, Fla.) -- An autopsy has determined that a Florida man died after ingesting "bath salts," just two days after Gov. Rick Scott signed a state law banning the synthetic drugs, which had been sold legally in stores and on the Internet.

A toxicologist with the medical examiner's office of Hillsborough County, Fla., said that Jairious McGhee, 23, died from an overdose of methylone, one of the chemicals sold as bath salts and used as a form of imitation cocaine. Julia Pearson said methylone was found in McGhee's blood after tests for other better-known drugs were negative.

An ABC News investigation to air on 20/20 Friday found that "legal drugs" like bath salts, "K2" and "spice" that mimic the effects of cocaine and marijuana were widely available on the Internet and in suburban malls and convenience stores. Bath salts, which have nothing in common with the products long used in bathing, are legally sold in more than 30 states, and there is no federal ban on them. The Florida law banning six different chemicals sold as bath salts was signed Tuesday, but an emergency rule issued in January by the state's attorney general had already made it a felony to possess or distribute them.

McGhee died in Tampa on April 3 after an April 2 altercation with police. Officers described him as behaving erratically, walking in traffic, and beating on cars. He was initially diagnosed with viral meningitis, and when he died his body temperature had risen to more than 105 degrees. Though McGhee, who had been fighting with officers, had been Tased, the medical examiner's office said the prongs never touched his skin and the Tasing did not contribute to his death.

Bath salts have been linked to 2,500 calls to poison control centers nationwide, and can produce paranoia, hallucinations and rapid increase in heart rate and body. Washington state authorities are investigating whether a soldier who shot and killed his wife and then himself during a high-speed car chase in April was using bath salts. In May, when 19-year-old Mark Thompson of West Virginia was found wearing women's underwear and standing over a goat's dead body, he told police he had been using bath salts.

"I hesitate to even hold some of this stuff in my hands for fear that it could cause a problem," said Dr. Mark Ryan, director of the Louisiana Poison Control Center. Louisiana has been an epicenter of bath salt abuse, with 221 calls to the state's Poison Control Center since Dr. Ryan saw his first case last September. "We've had some people show up who are complaining of chest pains so severe that they think they're having a heart attack. They think they're dying."

Congress is currently weighing a federal ban on bath salts, which are still sold legally in most states and via the Web. "Our teens and young adults need to understand that just because something's legal doesn't mean it's safe," said Drug Enforcement Administration special agent Gary Boggs. "Our parents need to, to pay attention to what our kids are, are ordering over the Internet."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio