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Spice and Bath Salts, Two Chemical Compounds likely to be Outlawed

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By Attorney Elisabeth Pasqualini, Criminal Law Division Leader, Harrisburg, PA

States are increasingly addressing the issue of manufactured drugs that remain legal in many areas, are easy for teens to obtain, and produce highs similar to that of marijuana and stimulants. They can cause violent side-effects, including hallucinations, anxiety, and combative behavior.


Here is a quick summary from a short article published in March 2011 in State Legislatures.

"Spice is a chemically engineered cannabinoid, similar to THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. When smoked or ingested, it can produce a marijuana-like high. MDPV and mephedrone are the active ingredients in drugs created in labs and marketed as 'bath salts,' according to the U.S. Dept. of Justice. These substances are structurally similar to the African plant khat that gives a stimulant buzz when chewed or made into tea. Bath salts are typically sold as a white powder and smoked, injected or snorted, giving users effects similar to cocaine, meth or ecstasy."


According to State Legislatures, as of March 1, 2011, 19 states had banned Spice and six had banned bath salts, either through statute or administrative action. 38 states had proposed legislation, including Pennsylvania. As of that same date, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration banned five chemicals used to make Spice.


The professor who created Spice in 1995 as a research project was quoted as saying: "People who use this are idiots. You have no idea what it's going to do to you."

The use of both bath salts and spice is on the rise.  There have been a number of cases of DUI charges against individuals suspected of using either of the two chemical compounds prior to driving.  Although, neither has been defined as a "controlled substance" as of yet, the likelihood of either remaining non-proscribed is slim.

You may contact us toll free or directly at www.shafferengle.com.  You may contact Attorney Pasqualini directly at Elisabeth@shafferengle.com

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