New York State Outlaws Bath Salts and Synthetic Drugs

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on August 7 the new regulations aimed at cracking down the widespread use of bath salts and other synthetic drugs.

The new regulations were issued by the New York State Department of Health (DOH) and approved by the Public Health and Health Planning Council to expand the existing list of prohibited drugs and chemicals to include dozens more substances that are now used to make synthetic drugs. The effort attempts to better ensure that distributors can no longer skirt the law by simply modifying the drug’s ingredients.

Part of the regulations is placing sanctions to owner of an establishment and/or an employee caught selling synthetic drugs, as well as increasing the criminal penalties for people who violate the rules. Fines of up to $500 and possible 15-day imprisonment will be imposed to violators.

“Bath salts and other synthetic drugs pose a direct, serious threat to public health and safety, and we must do everything we can to remove these harmful substances from sale and distribution in New York,” Governor Cuomo said.

According to the news release from the Governor’s Press Office, there has been an alarming increase in the number of New Yorkers using bath salts over the past year. In 2011, there were 39 reported emergency room visits in upstate New York as a result of bath salts. In 2012, 191 emergency room visits have so far been recorded — 120 of which occurred this past June and July. Meanwhile, as of 2011, there were 291 calls concerning synthetic marijuana poisonings, a big leap from the 20 calls received in 2010.

Governor Cuomo added that the regulations announced “attack the problem by helping our law enforcement officers enforce the rules, expanding the list of banned substances used to manufacture bath salts, and imposing tougher penalties so those who sell these drugs are held accountable.”

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