Legislature bans deadly bath salts

LANSING – The Michigan Legislature finalized legislation today to ban a dangerous new designer drug commonly sold as bath salts, which can result in violent behavior in users and even death.

“The so-called ‘bath salts’ are sold by greedy people to mostly college students at the expense of public safety,” said Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “As a former sheriff, I know that the violent effects of these drugs are harmful to users and also the general public. I am proud the Legislature has moved quickly to ban these drugs to help protect our children.”

House Bill 4565, sponsored by Rep. Sharon Tyler, adds a number of synthetic chemicals including Methylmethcathinone or Methlenedioxypyrovalerone (MDVP) to the list of controlled substances in the Michigan Public Health Code, making them illegal to possess.

“This important legislation is needed to stop the rising number of people who are using these dangerous drugs,” said Tyler, R-Niles. “Bath salts may sound funny, but the side effects from these drugs are no laughing matter. Michigan is taking a key step to winning this battle and protecting our families by joining other states in making these drugs illegal.”

According to the Michigan Department of Community Health, bath salts are being sold across the country as a crystalline powder online, at head shops, convenience stores and on the street with names such as Ivory Wave, Aura, ZOOM 2, Zeus 2, Cosmic Blast and White Rush.

Tyler and Jones pointed out that banning bath salts is just one step, and encouraged parents to make sure their children do not have one of these devastating designer drugs.

These drugs are completely different than commercially-manufactured bath salts for use in the bath tub and may contain a number of synthetic chemicals which are strong stimulants that can cause increased heart rate, chest pains, dizziness, delusions, panic attacks, nose bleeding and nausea.  Patients ingesting these chemicals can be extremely paranoid and may describe being chased by demons, gods or aliens.  Severe cases may even require long-term psychiatric care.

HB 4565 now heads to the governor to be signed into law.