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Over recent years, people have been getting high off the chemicals within legally sold synthetic drugs. Collectively known as ‘bath salts’, the drugs can easily be obtained in specialty stores throughout the country.
As the name suggests, the drugs are packaged in misguided labels claiming to be common household items such as bath salts and incense. When ingested the drug has effects similar to that of cocaine and amphetamines, while also causing violent outbursts in many cases.
President Obama has recently signed a bill banning all production, sale, and possession of over 20 different bath salt drugs. However, this ban may not be efficient in fixing the problem, being that there is an estimated 100 or more different bath salt chemicals in circulation. “The moment you start to regulate one of them, they’ll come out with a variant that sometimes is even more potent,” said Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
The government is only allowed the right to ban drugs intended for human use. ‘Bath salt’ manufacturers have avoided this by adding “not for human consumption” labels on their products. As the problem grows, hospitals and doctors are continuously dealing with extremely paranoid and violent patients. Many reported cases have been comparable to horror stories, with one situation involving a gruesome act of cannibalism.
“Cocaine is cocaine and meth is meth. We know what that these things do,” explains Mark Ryan, director of the Louisiana Poison Center. “But with these new drugs, every time the chemist alters the chemical structure all bets are off.”