Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Sister Newspapers' News

August 8, 2012

New York cracks down on synthetic drugs

TONAWANDA, N.Y. -- Alarmed by an uptick of related medical emergencies, New York has banned the sale of bath salts and other synthetic drugs, saying they were a “serious threat” to public health and safety.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state must do everything it can to remove the “harmful drugs” from their sale and distribution across New York.

The regulations will expand the existing list of prohibited drugs and chemicals to include dozens of substances that are used in the making of synthetic drugs.

The problem has been growing at an alarming rate. In 2011, there were 39 visits to emergency rooms as a result of bath salt use. So far in 2012, there have been 191 similar visits — with 120 of those occurring in June and July.

And according to New York State Poison Center, there were 21 calls about synthetic marijuana poisoning in 2010. That figure rose to 291 in 2011, and through the first six months of 2012, 321 calls were reported.

Currently, the drugs are sold online, in small convenience shops and retail outlets. The substances can have dangerous effects, including hallucinations, paranoia, chest pains, delusions and increased blood pressure.

Although federal and state authorities have attempted to outlaw use of the drugs, chemists and producers have stayed ahead of legislation by altering formulas quickly.

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Details for this story were provided by the Tonawanda (N.Y.) News.

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