Vermont bans bath salts

Posted Dec. 16, 2011, at 3:25 p.m.

BURLINGTON, Vt. — New drug regulations went into effect Friday in Vermont that made possession of the synthetic drug known as “bath salts” a crime.

The Vermont Health Department said that as of Friday, amended state drug regulations now make illegal the synthetic drug known as “bath salts” — which are not to be confused with the products people use when taking baths — and five other synthetic designer drugs labeled “not for human consumption.”

Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn said criminalizing the drugs will protect Vermonters and prevent problems.

“We don’t have a serious problem with it right now, but the best strategy is to get out in front of this before it has a chance to gain a foothold here in Vermont,” Flynn said.

Last August the state began the process to implement an emergency rule criminalizing bath salts. The new rule took effect Friday and will remain in place until a permanent ban can be enacted.

As of last month the Northern New England Poison center has recovered nearly 200 cases of bath salt abuse. Of those, 147 were in Maine, 35 in New Hampshire and 11 in Vermont.

Bath salts are sold under names such as “Ivory Wave,” ”Purple Wave,” ”Vanilla Sky” and “Bliss.” The Poison Center says bath salts use can cause high temperatures, seizures, muscle breakdown, kidney failure, heart rhythm disturbances and death.

Bath salts are unregulated psychoactive substances that provide highs similar to those from amphetamines, Ecstasy and cocaine. For the most part, they’ve been available on the Internet and in specialty smoke shops.

They’ve become popular because they’re accessible and inexpensive.

When people on bath salts become combative, it can take four or five people to subdue them. In some cases hospital staffs have had to put them into light comas with heavy doses of sedatives to get them under control.

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