Friday, June 8, 2012

Legislation to Prohibit Sale of “Bath Salts” Passes House of Representatives

Legislation filed by Representative George T. Ross (R–Attleboro) banning the sale of the designer drug called “bath salts,” which contain ingredients similar to those found in illegal narcotics, recently passed the House of Representatives and now stands before the State Senate for consideration.

Attached as an amendment to Representative Kafka’s (D-Stoughton) House Bill 2220, An Act Relative to Trafficking in Methamphetamines, Representative Ross’ amendment seeks to categorize the “bath salts” drug as a Class C substance under the Controlled Substances Act. The ingredients commonly found in “bath salts” are not currently included in our Controlled Substances Act, so these drugs can be sold in convenience stores and online even though they have no legal or practical use.

“I am pleased that the House of Representatives has acted upon this important piece of legislation,” said Representative Ross. “The ingredients found in this hallucinogen produce a potentially dangerous narcotic that is now readily available to anyone in our Commonwealth. In passing this legislation, the House has joined me in taking a proactive approach to this growing epidemic. We must act before it is too late and someone loses their life.”

The active ingredients in the drug “bath salts” include methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDVP) and mephedrone - also known as substituted cathinones. “Bath salts” are typically sold as a white powder and in crystal form, and can be smoked, injected, or snorted, giving users effects similar to cocaine, methamphetamine (meth), or ecstasy. Users’ reactions to the drug can vary but are reported to include: hallucinations, severe anxiety, paranoia, suicidal thoughts and combative behavior, as well as dangerously elevated blood pressure and heart rate.

“It has been a pleasure working with my friend, Representative Ross, to update the Commonwealth’s criminal statutes,” said Representative Kafka. “If passed by the Senate, House Bill 2220 will provide police and prosecutors with the tools necessary to combat the trafficking of methamphetamines, highly addictive and dangerous stimulants, and to deal with the proliferation of bath salts.”

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, as of May 14, 2012, 38 states have enacted legislation banning the substances used to manufacture the drug.