Web Date: October 25, 2011
‘Bath Salt’ Chemicals Busted
The Drug Enforcement Administration has banned the sale of three synthetic cathinones sold as “bath salts” or “plant food” but that in reality are used as recreational drugs.
DEA says it placed a one-year ban on possessing and selling mephedrone, 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone, and methylone to prevent “an imminent threat” to public safety. The agency says the compounds put users at risk for potentially severe physical and psychological harm.
“These chemicals pose a direct and significant threat, regardless of how they are marketed, and we will aggressively pursue those who attempt their manufacture and sale,” says DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart.
Sold under names such as “Vanilla Sky” and “Purple Wave,” the products, available at retail shops and through online outlets, are popular among teens and young adults, according to DEA. The agency says users of these chemicals liken the effects to those from several other illicit drugs, namely cocaine, LSD, Ecstasy, or methamphetamine.
An agency spokesman tells C&EN that DEA is unaware of any uses of these compounds other than as recreational drugs. The Food & Drug Administration has not approved them for medical use or human consumption. Currently, 37 states control or ban these chemicals.
Chemists are developing methods for tracing these substances back to their starting materials (C&EN, Sept. 5, page 54).
During the next year, DEA and the Department of Health & Human Services will study whether permanent federal controls are needed for the compounds.
- Chemical & Engineering News
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