FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 1, 2011
SCHUMER CALLS FOR BAN OF DEADLY SYNTHETIC DRUG MDPV, MARKETED AS 'BATH SALTS' BUT USED BY YOUTH FOR METH-LIKE HIGH; DRUG, RECENTLY PUT ON MARKET, HAS LED TO SEVERAL DEATHS AND VIOLENT BEHAVIOR BY USERS THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY
Schumer Legislation Would Add MDPV to List of Controlled Substances and Stop Legal Sales of So-Called 'Bath Salts' and 'Plant Foods' in United States; UK, Australia, Canada, and Israel Have Already Banned the Substance
Schumer Also Calls on NYS Health Commissioner to Ban Chemicals Mephedrone and Methylenedioxyprovalerone in 'Bath Salts'; Effects Similar to Methamphetamines and Cocaine
Schumer: Bath Salts Sold Online and at Convenience Store Counters Pose Deadly Risks to Kids and Teens; Consequences of Delaying Ban are Too Grave
United States Senator Charles E. Schumer announced today that he is introducing legislation to add MDPV and mephedrone, synthetic chemicals being sold across the country and marketed as “bath salts” and “plant food” to the list of controlled substances. So-called ‘bath salts’ are becoming increasingly popular and sold online, in convenience stores, and in smoke shops. The chemicals have a similar effect on the body as cocaine and methamphetamines. The dangerous ingredients in the salts, MDPV and mephedrone, can be snorted, smoked, and injected to receive a deadly high. Schumer is also asking the New York State Health Commissioner to take any and all action to ban the chemicals statewide.
“These so-called bath salts contain ingredients that are nothing more than legally sanctioned narcotics, and they are being sold cheaply to all comers, with no questions asked, at store counters around the country,” said Senator Schumer. “The longer we wait to ban the substance, the greater risk we put our kids in. These so-called bath salts are dangerous drugs masquerading as a harmless product. They offer a cheap and deadly high and we need to move immediately to get them off the shelves.”
MDPV (methylenedioxypyrovalerone) and mephedrone are the main ingredients of these so-called ‘bath salts,’ and are now being sold online, at convenience stores, and in smoke shops under names like Tranquility, Zoom, Ivory Wave, Red Dove and Vanilla Sky. According to numerous reports, the chemicals found in these bath salts and plant foods cause effects similar to those caused by cocaine and Methamphetamines, including hallucinations, paranoia, and suicidal thoughts. In one case a user was reported to have resorted to self-mutilation after abusing the substance. In several cases, users have died after overdosing or because of violent behavior.
The two synthetic chemicals, mephedrone and methylenedioxypyrovalerone are uncontrolled substances with no known medicinal purpose. The harmful impact of these powders have been recognized around the world, and countries including the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and Israel have acted quickly to ban these substances. Similarly, several states, including North Dakota, Florida, and Louisiana have now banned the sale of these chemicals within their jurisdictions.
While the United States Attorney General and the Drug Enforcement Administration have announced they are currently investigating the effects of the synthetic drugs, Schumer is offering legislation to immediately add the synthetic drug to the list of controlled substances. In pushing for legislation to ban the substance, Schumer noted that pharmacological research is a long process and we cannot afford to wait while convenience stores, online merchants, and smoke shops continue to sell this synthetic drug to anyone in the country, including teens and children.
While many of the reports of violent behavior and death resulting from the drugs have come from the South and the Midwest, Schumer is hoping to head off the proliferation of the drug in New York State. In a letter to the New York State Commissioner of Health Dr. Nirav Shah, Schumer urged the commissioner to exercise all powers of his office to put in place a ban on the chemicals and, if necessary, work with the New York State Legislature to pass legislation to do so. In additional to 3 states that have already banned the chemicals, several others are actively considering the move.
“This is no run-of-the-mill household product; it is a deceptively disguised drug that can easily and cheaply be accessed by our children and teens,” continued Schumer. “This is a product, being hocked at local convenience stores and smoke shops for one simple purpose: to offer a cheap and quick high. The consequences of delaying action are deadly. We must act now.”
A copy of Senator Schumer’s letter to Dr. Shah can be found below.
Dr. Nirav Shah
New York State Department of Health
Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY 12237
Dear Commissioner Shah:
I write to express my grave concern regarding the emergence of a dangerous new synthetic drug, being sold across the country and marketed as “bath salts” or “plant food.” I was troubled to learn that these substances, which have the similar effects on the body as cocaine and methamphetamines, are being sold legally throughout the United States in smoke shops and convenience stores, and I urge you to issue a ban of these harmful chemicals in New York.
As you may know, poison centers throughout the country have been receiving reports over the past several months of individuals snorting, smoking, or injecting these powders as recreational drugs. According to reports, mephedrone and methylenedioxypyrovalerone, also known as MDPV, are chemicals within the so-called bath salts that cause effects similar to those caused by cocaine and methamphetamines, including hallucinations, paranoia, and suicidal thoughts, which have led to self-mutilation and several deaths. These two synthetic chemicals are uncontrolled substances with no known medicinal or commercial use.
In light of the numerous reports of the dangerous effects of these chemicals on individuals throughout the country, I plan to introduce legislation in the U.S. Senate that would place MDPV and mephedrone in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. I urge you to exercise all administrative action available to your office to put in place a ban on the chemicals and, if necessary, to work with the New York State Legislature to pass legislation to protect New Yorkers and prevent the legal sale of these harmful chemicals throughout the state.
The Drug Enforcement Agency is currently conducting pharmacological research on these substances, which is the first – often lengthy – step required to place these substances on the Controlled Substances list. However, we cannot afford to wait for this long process while stores continue to sell this dangerous synthetic cocaine to New Yorkers. State officials in Florida, Louisiana, and North Dakota have already outlawed MDPV within their jurisdictions, while state officials in Kentucky and Mississippi have begun to take steps toward similar measures. It is time for us in New York to recognize the danger of these synthetic drugs and take the same definitive action.
I look forward to working with you to on this important issue.
Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator