A new bill banning the sale and use of synthetic drugs – such as bath salts, k2 and herbal incense – passed the Senate on Tuesday of this week, and now waits for President Obama’s signature, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. The bill, which would ban the drugs at a federal level, seeks to eradicate the currently-legal “designer drugs” that some media have reported have caused “savage violence” in some users. “These synthetic drugs that are on the market have devastated families and ruined the potential of a lot of young people,” said Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio), one of the bill’s co-sponsors. “These are not ‘herbal incense’ or ‘bath salts.’ These are really dangerous chemical compounds that can ruin your chances in life.”
The names of these drugs can be deceiving – the compounds known as “herbal incense” and “bath salts” are neither aromatic air fresheners nor meant to be used in the tub. The former is a chemically-laced substance with psychoactive properties similar to marijuana, and the latter is a crystalline form of MDPV and mephedrone. Both have been reported to have caused acute symptoms such as psychosis, hallucinations, and violence.
Although several states have banned the drugs, they will remain legal in several others until Obama signs the bill. The drugs also continue to be widely available on the Internet under names such as “Zombie Killa,” “Mind Trip,” and “Miracle Blow.” The federal bill will block both brick-and-mortar and online retailers from carrying these products.