Assembly Panel Clears Bill Criminalizing “Bath Salts” Drugs

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TRENTON – A measure to make it illegal to possess or sell drugs disguised as “bath salts” cleared a key Assembly panel on Thursday.

The legislation (A-3984), known as “Pamela’s Law,” was crafted after the body of Pamela Schmidt, a Rutgers student and resident of Warren Township, was discovered in the basement of her boyfriend’s parent’s home in Cranford in March. According to reports, the boyfriend, who has been charged with murder, may have been using “bath salts” and consequently suffering from paranoia and mania.

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The measure would criminalize the possession and sale of products containing narcotic substances such as mephedrone or methylenedioxpyrovalerone, commonly known as MDPV, which are being sold over the counter as “bath salts” and easily available at gas stations, convenience stores or head shops.

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.

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.

Under the bill, it would become a crime of the third degree to possess, manufacture, or distribute products containing: 4-methylmethcathinone (mephedrone, 4-MMC); 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV); 3,4-methylenedioxymethcathinone (methylone, MDMC), 4-methoxymethcathinone (methedrone, bk-PMMA, PMMC); 3-fluoromethcathinone (3-FMC); or 4-fluoromethcathinone (flephedrone, 4-FMC).

A crime of the third degree is punishable by a three to five year term of imprisonment, a $15,000 fine or both.

These products have emerged as legal alternatives to cocaine and methamphetamines, and one or both have already been banned in the European Union, Australia, Canada, and Israel.

In the United States, Florida, Louisiana and North Dakota have all recently banned the substances.

The bill cleared the Assembly Judiciary Committee by a vote of 5-1 and now heads to the full Assembly.


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