New Jersey bans ‘bath salts’

    New Jersey is banning the manufacture, possession and sale of designer drugs known as “bath salts.”

    New Jersey Attorney General Paula Dow said the designer drugs are sold at gas stations and smoke shops throughout the state.

    “Shady retailers are playing a deadly game selling highly dangerous drugs with fake labels like bath salts or plant foods to evade the law. No more,” Dow said Thursday. “Here in New Jersey the game is over.”

    Thomas Calcagni, acting director of the state Division of Consumer Affairs, has added the six chemicals in the drugs to New Jersey’s list of controlled dangerous substances.

    Dr. Steven Marcus, medical director of the New Jersey Poison Information and Education System, said those chemicals have dangerous medical consequences.

    “These patients are the sickest patients that we’ve seen in probably 25 or 30 years since the beginning of the crack epidemic in the late 1980s where patients were so hyperactive you almost had to hit them with a blowgun to knock them down,” Marcus said. “That’s just how paranoid and psychotic these patients are appearing in emergency rooms.”

    The gas stations and smoke shops that have been selling the bath salts have 10 days to hand them over to police. After that, violators of the ban can face up to a $25,000 fine and a five-year prison term.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.