LANSING – The Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation Tuesday to ban dangerous synthetic drugs commonly known as K-2 or Spice and the measure will soon be taken up by the full Senate, said Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge.
The synthetic chemical is made in Asia, sprayed on leaves, and sold in Michigan as a “potpourri” or incense. Last year a law was passed banning the designer drugs, but a bill approved during lame duck session inadvertently removed the ban.
Gov. Granholm wrote to the Legislature asking for it to be fixed right before she signed the flawed bill, which resulted in headlines around the nation. The Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Jones, passed Senate Bill 99 to fix the mistake.
Jones also announced that a bill is being drafted to ban a new designer drug that is even more dangerous. Sold as “bath salts,” the new designer drug is so dangerous that the Michigan Department of Community Health (DCH) has issued warnings.
“The so-called ‘bath salts’ are even more dangerous because they can create violent behavior that not only harms the user but also could harm other people,” said Jones, a former Eaton County Sheriff. “This type of drug is sold by greedy people who make a profit at the expense of public safety. I am asking parents to make sure that their children do not have either the K-2 type products or the bath salt designer drugs.”
According to DCH, the bath salts are being sold across the country as a crystalline powder online, at head shops, convenience stores and on the street. These are not commercially manufactured bath salts that people purchase to use in the bath tub. These products are sold with names such as Ivory Wave, Aura, ZOOM 2, Zeus 2, Cosmic Blast and White Rush.
Hospital emergency departments in Michigan have reported 18 cases related to the use of bath salts in the past four weeks. Many of the people treated in emergency departments have been young adults in their 20s and 30s. Similar reports have been seen in states across the country.
“We are very concerned about the use of this dangerous product. These stimulants affect neurotransmitters in the brain which can result in violent behavior and death,” said Dr. Gregory Holzman, MC, chief medical executive for DCH.
Bath salt products may contain a number of synthetic chemicals including Methylmethcathinone or Methlenedioxypyrovalerone (MDVP), both of 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 not respond to usual calmatives. Some have been involved in homicides and suicides while under the influence. Many describe being chased by demons, gods, aliens or foreign soldiers. Severe cases may require long-term psychiatric care.