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HOT TOPICS: Drug and Alcohol Treatment  Heroin

DEA Bans "Bath Salts" Chemicals

An emergency national prohibition responds to rising concerns about a rapidly-evolving drug category.


Bath salts are sold in numerous guises. Photo via

By Jason Gotlieb


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Head shops, websites and enterprising individuals in the US are no longer allowed to sell three synthetic stimulants that can be used to make so-called "bath salts." Eager customers, typically young adults and teens, use the chemicals to experience similar highs to those induced by LSD, methamphetamine, and cocaine. The ban placed by the Drug Enforcement Association on Friday is considered an emergency measure: mephedrone, methylone and the memorable methylenedioxypyrovalerone (understandably abbreviated to MDPV) have all been placed under the DEA's most restrictive category—reserved for substances that are considered most likely to be abused and that have no accepted medical applications. The three drugs will be banned for at least a year while they're studied further. While popular, bath salts are also thought by many to be highly dangerous, and have already been banned in some states. Users are reported to experience severe, sometimes long-term, paranoia and are sometimes inclined to behave violently toward themselves and others, with recorded bath salt-related incidents including stabbings and self-inflicted injuries.

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