TRENTON – New Jersey lawmakers plan to introduce legislation that would prevent the sale of drugs marketed as bath salts that can pack as much punch as cocaine or methamphetamines.
Earlier this week, Cranford resident William J. Parisio was arrested for allegedly killing his girlfriend Pamela Schmidt. Parisio’s mother, Diane, told the Star-Ledger that her son had struggled with drug dependency for years and may have recently begun using “bath salts” that act as powerful stimulants.
“Bill is an example of the devastation that this drug (causes) in people’s lives,” she said.
Assembly members John F. McKeon and Linda Stender plan to introduce a bill would criminalize the possession and sale of products containing narcotic substances such as mephedrone or methylenedioxpyrovalerone, commonly known as MDPV, that are being sold over the counter and are at some gas stations and convenience stores. The offense would be punishable by a three to five year term of imprisonment, a $15,000 fine or both.
“The recent tragedy is deadly proof of the devastation that can be caused when dangerous drugs are masqueraded as bath salts and are openly available to the public, especially our youth who are the highest users of such hallucigenic substances,” McKeon (D-Essex) said.
“The terrible tragedy of the death of a young student increases the urgency of cleansing the marketplace of narcotic substances that are being disguised as bath salts. It is clear they can have a disastrous affect on the minds of the users,” Stender (D-Union) said. “We are determined to move forward to get these dangerous products off the shelves and out of reach of our youth.”
Mephedrone and methylenedioxypyrovalerone or MDPV come in powder and tablet form and are ingested by snorting, injection, smoking, and less often, by the use of an atomizer. They create a “meth-like” high.
Users experience an intense high, extreme energy, hallucinations, insomnia and are easily provoked to anger, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which is currently investigating the drugs.
Some of the after affects of using these products, which are believed to be highly addictive, include high blood pressure, increased heart rate, agitation, hallucinations, extreme paranoia, delusions, and suicidal thoughts.
The drugs have reportedly become increasingly popular over the last year, particularly among young people attending nightclubs. They come branded with names like Ivory Wave, Ocean, Charge, White Lightning, Cloud-9, White Dove, Hurricane Charlie and Scarface.
According to the DEA, they range in price from $25 to $50 per 50 milligram packet.
In 2010, there were 233 reported calls to U.S. poison centers for the ingestion of the chemicals most commonly found in these products, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers. In the first ten days of 2011, that number had hit 69.
In the United States, Florida, Louisiana and North Dakota have all recently banned the substances. Congressman Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has introduced legislation that would add bath salts to a list of federally controlled substances.
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