Often labeled “bath salts,” the powder is also marketed as “plant food” and contains synthetic chemicals that mimic the effects of cocaine or methamphetamine. The packets are sold over-the-counter at many convenience stores. U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer of New York has introduced a bill to add the chemicals to the controlled substances list. Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania supports this action. “As a result of our failure to add the ingredients in bath salts to the list of controlled substances, you have people committing violence acts because they are impacted by this substance,” said Casey. In New Jersey last weekend, a Rutgers University senior was killed, allegedly by her longtime boyfriend who had been using the drug.
“In Scranton, my home town, police charged a man with breaking into a monastery residence and attacking a priest just last week,” said Casey. “There are plenty of incidents like that, so we want to make sure we are responsive to that and that we pass legislation to deal with this problem.” While there is no exact timeframe, Casey said he’ll push for quick action. Many states, including Florida, Louisiana and North Dakota, have banned the product. Lawmakers in Trenton say they will propose a ban in New Jersey soon.