Dangerous ‘bath salts’ banned under new law
On April 15, the Alaska State Legislature voted to criminalize synthetic cathinones in Alaska. The senate bill makes it illegal to sell, distribute, manufacture, or possess synthetic cathinones; generally marketed as “bath salts” and known to produce a high similar to methamphetamine, ecstasy or cocaine.
The substances are known by a variety of names, including Red Dove, Blue Silk, Zoom, Bloom, Cloud Nine, Ocean Snow, Lunar Wave, Vanilla Sky, Ivory Wave, White Lightning, Scarface Purple Wave, Blizzard, Star Dust, Lovey Dovey, Snow Leopard, Aura, Hurricane Charlie, and Meow-Meow. They are mostly sold on the Internet, and on the street, but can also be found in discount tobacco outlets, gas stations, pawnshops and tattoo parlors, among other locations.
These products are usually encountered as highly pure white or brown powders. While they have become popular under the guise of selling as “bath salts,” they are sometimes sold as other products such as insect repellent, or plant food with names like Bonsai Grow among others. The various brands are sold in 50-milligram to 500-milligram packets. Prices range from $25 to $50 per 50-milligram packet.
Manufacturers have been able to avoid prosecution by putting “Not For Human Consumption” on the packaging. However, some make little effort to conceal what they really are, with one brand having a picture of actor Al Pacino from the movie “Scarface” on its packaging.
Symptoms of use can include paranoia, delusions, hallucinations, suicidal behavior and violence. The American Association of Poison Control Centers said from 2011 to 2012, there has been a 1300 percent increase in “bath salt” related calls to poison centers nationwide.
Alaska Senate Bill 140, which awaits the governor’s signature, makes the manufacture, distribution, sale and possession of 500 milligrams or more of synthetic cathinones, a Class C felony. Possession of less than 500 milligrams would be a Class A misdemeanor.
For information on the Web, search “Bath Salts,” MDPV (Methylenedioxypyrovalerone) and Mephedrone.