by Nicole Houck, Contributing Writer
Pennsylvanians engaged in the battle to ban bath salts scored another victory on Thursday, as the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee approved the Combating Dangerous Synthetic Drugs Act and the Dangerous Synthetic Drug Control Act, both of which were co-sponsored by Senator Bob Casey.
The legislation would immediately add the ingredients in bath salts to the list of controlled substances. It would also amend the Controlled Substances Act to increase the time frame the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services have to emergency schedule substances. This will facilitate the quick removal of dangerous substances from the market while they are more closely studied.
“The action taken today is a positive step in the effort to get dangerous drugs like bath salts out of our communities,” Senator Casey said in a press announcement. “The horrific strain these drugs have inflicted on public safety, public health and local law enforcement demands immediate action, and I reiterate my call on the DEA to use its authority to immediately enact a temporary ban while a permanent ban moves through Congress.”
The synthetic stimulate in bath salts reportedly produces effects similar to cocaine, and the dangers from abuse of bath salts are on the rise in Pennsylvania. Emergency room visits due to abuse of bath salts have multiplied over the last year – evidence of the increase in injuries and fatalities that prompted Senator Casey to send a letter to the DEA in March urging a ban
Insisting that the salts “pose an imminent threat to public safety,” Casey wrote: “In one high profile case, a man using ‘bath salts’ allegedly entered a monastery and stabbed a priest. Because ‘bath salts’ pose a clear threat to public health, I urge you to exercise DEA’s emergency authority under the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984 to place MDPV and mephedrone in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act for up to one year.”