There is a growing and disturbing trend concerning “bath salts” and other synthetic drugs. For almost two months media outlets, courthouses and many other places have discussed these mysterious drugs. There have been murders, attempted murders and vicious attacks by people who are believed to have used these drugs. There have also been many trips to the emergency room by parents who believe their teenagers have overdosed on these drugs. As well as suspicious deaths that have been linked to these drugs.
The lawyers at the Fort Lauderdale Criminal Law Firm of Berman & Tsombanakisare keeping a watchful eye on the nationwide movement to ban bath salts and other synthetic drugs. With an emphasis on how this will effect the criminal justice system here in South Florida. Bath salts are referred to on the street as Ivory Wave,Purple Wave, Vanilla Sky and Bliss. There have been thousands of calls to poison centers across the U.S. as of late.
Bath salts are not necessarily bath salts like what we put in our bath tubs. They are however, marketed as bath salts and by labeling them ‘not for human consumption,’ they have been able to avoid being classified as illegal. Bath salts have been known to cause hallucinations, chest pain, thoughts of suicide, paranoia and agitation. They are responsible for other psychotic type episodes. The suicide rate that has been linked to these drugs is also of great concern.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has made it illegal to possess and sale three of the chemicals commonly used to make bath salts — the synthetic stimulants mephedrone, MDPV, and methylone. The ban was issued last October and is in effect for at least one year. The DEA will decide whether a permanent ban is necessary. Given the recent cases in the news, a permanent ban may very well be on its way.
The State of Florida and counties all over the state are working to ban the sale of these specific types of bath salts. Earlier this week, Miami Dade County issued a ban on bath salts and some other synthetic drugs. The new ban on bath salts, now makes it illegal to “sale, offer for sale, purchase with intent to sell and public display for sale prohibited of synthetic stimulant bath salts, synthetic cathinones, synthetic amphetamines and other synthetic stimulants that mimic illegal drugs.” Individuals who violate this law could face a $500 fine and up to 60 days in jail. The local governments are hoping that this will serve as a deterrent to teenagers who are abusing these drugs as well as the manufacturers. It is very well possible that stiffer penalties will be proposed to the Florida State Legislature during its next session.
The necessity to ban bath salts came about after the gruesome mauling of a homeless man by Rudy Eugene, back in May of this year. Even though the toxicology reports did not show bath salts were in his system, many believed that they were the cause of this mauling. The reports only showed that there was marijuana in Mr. Eugene’s system. In addition to this case, a few weeks ago the bodies of two young men were found in a field in Miami Dade County. The mother of one of the young men, told the Doral Board of Commissioners that she believed that her son overdosed on a drug called 25I. The Doral Commissioners brought this to the attention of the Miami Dade Commission when they voted to ban all synthetic drugs county wide.
The drug 25I is a hallucinogen. It is believed that it can cause death and is the latest way for some teens to get high. Teenagers are snorting or smoking the substance to get high. The unfortunate thing about bath salts and these other synthetic drugs is that they are being disguised in such away that the user will believe that its not harmful. Additionally because they are being sold in local markets, convenience stores and smoke shops for cheap prices and in the “legal” market, people are still buying them.