In a 21-0 vote, the bath salts ban now moves from the Senate to the House, as state lawmakers work quickly to move the bill before an emergency ban on the designer drug expires at the end of the month.
Said to cause hallucinations, violent episodes and extreme paranoia, the drug has been linked to violent crimes including the stabbing death of New Castle County Lt. Joseph Szczerba, Sept. 16. Two weeks later, Gov. Jack Markell issued the temporary ban, the results of which, medical officials say, were seen immediately.
“We saw a lot of cases during the summertime, and once that ban hit on Sept. 30, we really saw a marked decrease in the amount of patients,” said emergency room nurse Cheryl Flowers. “We are still seeing patients on bath salts, but nothing like it was prior to the ban.”
If the bill becomes law, bath salts would fall in the same category as other illegal drugs and carry similar penalties that could mean jail time.
“It’s a great shot in the arm to law enforcement and all first responders… all of us on the front lines that saw the effects of this drug on a day-to-day basis,” said State Police Maj. Chip Simpson.
The bath salts bill now makes it way over to the House.