DEA Bans Bath Salts

DEA Bans Bath Salts

Finally, the DEA bans Bath Salts. If you don’t know what they are, just know that they are a highly addictive and harmful class of drugs.

What are Bath Salts?

Bath Salts have nothing to do with real bath salts – or “jewelry cleaner,” “plant food,” or “phone screen cleaner” – all of which they’re also sometimes called. Bath Salts are snorted, injected, or mixed with food or drink.

Bath Salts are designer drugs, meaning man-made or synthetic substances, which contain synthetic chemicals that are similar to amphetamines. Exactly what chemicals are in the drugs isn’t known.

Most bath salts are MDPV, or methylenedioxypyrovalerone, although different chemical compounds are constantly being made by illegal street chemists. It is difficult to know exactly what is in bath salts because of the ever-changing concoction and because no tests have existed until recently. That’s changing now, as some tests have been developed for certain of chemicals known to be found in bath salts.

Are Bath Salts Addictive?

The chemicals in bath salts are now labeled as Schedule I drugs because they have been found to have no medical value and to have a high potential for abuse. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, incidents involving the use of bath salts have sparked thousands of calls to poison centers across the country.

What Effect Do Bath Salts Have?

Like other amphetamines, bath salts cause an elevated mood, heightened libido, euphoria, and loss of appetite.

Also like amphetamines, bath salts can negatively impact cardiac, renal and respiratory functions.

The effects of bath salts include agitation, paranoia, hallucinations, chest pain, increased pulse, high blood pressure, and suicidal thinking and behavior, which can last even after the high from the drug has dissipated. Sadly, there have been a few highly publicized suicides a few days after their known use.

The DEA Bans Bath Salts: Emergency Scheduling

In October of 2011, the U. S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) exercised its emergency scheduling authority to control three synthetic stimulants (Mephedrone, 3,4 methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) and Methylone) used to make products marketed as “bath salts” and “plant food.” This action makes possessing bath salts, selling bath salts, or any products that contain them, illegal in the United States, therefore the banning bath salts. This emergency action was necessary to prevent an imminent threat to the public safety. The temporary scheduling action remains in effect for at least one year while the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the DEA bans bath salts completely by further studying these chemicals.

 The DEA Bans Bath Salts: The Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act

The Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act of July 2012 makes it illegal to possess bath salts, to use bath salts, or to distribute many of the chemicals used to make bath salts, including Mephedrone and MDPV. Methylone, another chemical used in bath salts, is also under the DEA regulatory ban. Altogether, the DEA bans bath salts – over 26 chemicals – that have been found to be ingredients in synthetic drugs known as bath salts.













What are the Good Samaritan Laws?

What are the Good Samaritan Laws?


Good Samaritan laws are laws or acts offering legal protection to people who give reasonable assistance to those who are injured, ill, in peril, or otherwise incapacitated. In some cases, Good Samaritan laws encourage people to offer assistance (duty to rescue). The protection is intended to reduce bystanders’ hesitation to assist, for fear of being sued or prosecuted for unintentional injury or wrongful death.

In the past, Good Samaritan laws did not protect individuals in emergency situations that involved drugs. For this reason, many people feared getting involved by calling 911 or transporting the overdose victim to the hospital. As a result, so many people have lost their lives when they could have been saved.

The Good Samaritan Emergency Response Act, an amendment to the law, signed just last year, encourages people to call 911 for help without having to fear criminal prosecution for drug possession because it grants them immunity.

Under this law, someone who’s overdosing on drugs or seeking help for an overdose victim can’t be prosecuted for having a small amount of heroin or any amount of marijuana, for example.

New Jersey

Recently, already-established Good Samaritan laws have been amended to protect individuals in rendering aid to the specific life-threatening situation: drug overdose. In these cases, someone who calls 911, stays at the scene, and/or bring someone to the Emergency Room when they are overdosing is immune to any drug-related charges. The same goes for the overdose victim.

The Good Samaritan Emergency Response Act was originally vetoed in November by Gov. Christie but, he changed his mind after talking with singer Bon Jovi and reading the letters of many grieving parents of overdose victims.

Now that the Act has passed, altruistic individuals who call 911 when a friend or neighbor is overdosing will not be liable for drug use or possession charges for calling the police.

In addition, the Act also provides Good Samaritan protection for anyone administering an opioid antidote to an overdose victim. Medics and even average citizens in New Jersey can use these opioid antidotes to aid overdose victims without fear of being sued.

This may help the state reverse the alarming trend that left 180 dead from opioid overdose alone in 2009, according to the Drug Policy Alliance.

Still, nothing in the bill prevents law enforcement from charging anyone with a drug crime using evidence that is unrelated to calling for medical aid.

New York

As for Bon Jovi, the singer/songwriter’s involvement in New Jersey’s Good Samaritan law follows his then-19-year-old daughter’s brush with a drug overdose in her college dorm room in New York in 2012.

New York’s Good Samaritan law for 911 callers allowed Bon Jovi’s daughter to be rescued by emergency responders and not charged with a drug crime.

Stephanie Rose Bongiovi, the 19-year-old daughter of rocker Jon Bon Jovi, was arrested after she allegedly overdosed on heroin. While police initially arrested Bongiovi and another student on suspicion of drug possession, those charges were later dropped.

Bongiovi could have faced misdemeanor charges for possession of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana, and criminal use of drug paraphernalia.

New York’s Good Samaritan 911 law is in place to ensure that those facing life-threatening drug overdoses call for help, instead of risking death over fear of being charged with a crime. That’s exactly what happened in Stephanie Rose Bongiovi’s case. Several other states also have similar Good Samaritan laws on the books.








Hallucinogens in Addiction Treatment

Hallucinogens in Addiction Treatment

Treating Drug Abuse with…Drugs?

An up-and-coming approach to treating drug abuse is the use of hallucinogens in addiction treatment. Specifically, researchers are looking to Ibogaine, a natural hallucinogen that has been used for centuries in other parts of the world for ritual ceremonies. Currently, Ibogaine is being used in some European countries and Mexico for the treatment of drug addiction.

What are Hallucinogens?

Hallucinogenic compounds found in some plants and mushrooms (or their extracts) have been used—mostly during religious rituals—for centuries. Almost all hallucinogens contain nitrogen and are classified as alkaloids. Many hallucinogens have chemical structures similar to those of natural neurotransmitters. While the exact mechanisms by which hallucinogens exert their effects remain unclear, research suggests that these drugs work, at least partially, by temporarily interfering with neurotransmitter action or by binding to their receptor sites.

Using Hallucinogens in Addiction Treatment

Ibogaine, is a naturally occurring psychoactive substance found in plants. A hallucinogen with both psychedelic and dissociative properties, the substance is banned in some countries; in other countries it is being used to treat addiction to methadone, heroin, alcohol, cocaine, methamphetamine, and other drugs. Derivatives of ibogaine that lack the substance’s hallucinogenic properties are under development.

And scientists say Ibogaine might be the best way to break drug addicts of their habit.

Ibogaine has intrigued researchers since 1962, when Howard Lotsof, a student at New York University and an opiate addict, found that a single dose erased his drug cravings without causing any withdrawal symptoms. Unfortunately, the hallucinogen can increase the risk of cardiac arrest, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency lists it as a Schedule I substance, a classification for drugs like ecstasy and LSD with “no known medical value” and “high potential for abuse,” making it difficult to get federal funding to run clinical trials. That is, currently it is not legal to use hallucinogens in addiction treatment.

Animal tests have shown the drug’s medicinal promise. “Rats addicted to morphine will quit for weeks after receiving ibogaine,” says Stanley Glick, the director of the Center for Neuropharmacology and Neuroscience at Albany Medical College. And addicts have reported positive effects in Mexico and Europe, where ibogaine therapy is legal.

From the limited research, though, scientists have two theories about how the use of hallucinogens in addiction treatment works. Some say it’s purely biological—that ibogaine degrades into a compound that binds with opiate receptors in the brain to quiet cravings. Others believe that it is also psychological. Those who use hallucinogens report a change in perspective and outlook on life. Researchers believe that this aspect of the hallucination provides perspective on the negative aspects of drug use, and so the drug addict will strive to quit.

The Argument for the use of Hallucinogens in Addiction Treatment

Regardless of the mechanism, proving ibogaine works is essential to winning approval and funding for clinical trials of using hallucinogens in addiction treatment. And, in the U.S., the sooner the better: Nearly seven million Americans abuse illicit drugs, costing the nation an estimated $181 billion a year in health care, crime and lost productivity.














Drugs Laws and Policies Around the World

Drugs Laws and Policies Around the World

When it comes to drug laws and policies for the sale and uses of illicit drugs each country around the world is different. What is okay and acceptable in one part of the world could be punishable by death in another. Here is a brief overview of the drug laws and policies around the world.

The drug laws and policies of Australia

Regardless of the growing counterculture that supports the legalization of marijuana and other drugs going on in Australia, the laws concerning drug abuse and drug sales are very similar to those in the United States. There is a very strong push placed on drug education in the schools starting as early as what we consider middle school in America. Australia though has been a more outspoken proponent of harm reduction measures such as needle exchange programs.

The drug laws and policies in the Netherlands

One of the biggest differences between the drug laws and policies in the Netherlands and the United States is that the government approaches the drug problem as a health issue not a criminal issue. The Netherlands invest a lot of money into the treatment of drug addiction and education on drug abuse prevention rather than it does the imprisonment of potential users. The next biggest difference is that the Netherlands is the only country that has completely decriminalized the use and sale of marijuana.

The drug laws and policies in the United States

The drug laws and policies in the United States are very strict and harsh. The penalties for drug possession or sale are especially strict. This is proven by the fact that a large percentage of the prison population in the United States is comprised of people with a drug problem. The United States began the “war on drugs” in the 1970s and since that time the United States has spent billions of dollars taking drug users to court and pursuing drug traffickers at all the borders and within the states themselves.

The drug laws and policies in the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom maintains its own drug laws and policies. The United Kingdom has their Misuse of Drugs Act of 1971 which breaks down all drug-related offenses into three categories. The three categories are Class A, Class B, and Class C. A is the most dangerous and C being the least dangerous drugs. Certain drug possession laws are more lenient in the United Kingdom than in the United States but possession with the intent to sell still carries the potential for life in prison.

The drug laws and policies in Switzerland

The drug laws and policies in Switzerland are some of the most lenient policies in the world when it comes to drug-related offenses. The emphasis for the Swiss government is on prevention therapy, harm reduction and prohibition. The Swiss government puts special emphasis on helping drug addicts receive effective drug treatment and does everything it can in its power to ensure the safety of active drug users. Switzerland was actually the focus around the world due to its government sponsored “safe rooms” where heroin addicts could go to shoot up with a clean needle in a safe environment.

The drug laws and policies in Germany

German drug laws and policies are some of the strictest in Europe. Serious penalties are given for the sale or possession of large quantities of drugs but there is no criminal action taken for small-scale possession or use of narcotics including marijuana. The German government even allows supervised “drug rooms” like those found in the Netherlands where individuals can safely use their drug of choice and get counseling if needed or wanted.