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In response to a growing epidemic, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration issued an emergency bath salts ban on Friday.
For the next year, mephedrone, methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) and methylone, will be classified as Schedule I drugs. Persons who possess or sell these chemicals--or any substance that contains them--may face federal felony drug charges.
This is in addition to any penalties imposed by laws in the 37 states that have limited access to the synthetic stimulant. A number of counties have also regulated the substance.
Bath salts, which are legal in some states, are available over the internet and cost significantly less than the alternatives. However, they may have more serious side effects.
Reports tell of psychotic and paranoid episodes, often leading to violence and a trip to the emergency room. Patients face high blood pressure, elevated temperatures, kidney failure, and lingering mental health problems.
Some patients also don't respond to traditional treatment, explains the New York Times. Doctors have turned to powerful antipsychotics as a result.
This is also why bath salts are labeled as "not fit for human consumption."
An increasing number of such incidents ultimately caused the DEA to act. The number of teens and young adults showing up in emergency rooms and jails is alarming. It has also caused significant strain on resources.
This is why you should expect the bath salts ban to become permanent by the end of next year. The DEA and Department of Health and Human Services must first undertake a study, but preliminary evidence shows that use is growing and the effects are dangerous.