WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today applauded the news from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) that it is temporarily banning the chemicals found in “bath salts.” Brown also renewed his call for a permanent ban on these highly dangerous street drugs, which have been linked to several overdoses and deaths in Ohio.
DEA announced yesterday that it is using its emergency scheduling authority to control three synthetic stimulants—Mephedrone, 3,4 methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) and Methylone—to protect the public from the imminent hazard posed by these dangerous chemicals. According to the DEA, this action will make possessing and selling these chemicals or the products that contain them illegal in the U.S. for at least one year while the DEA and the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) study whether these chemicals should be permanently controlled.
“The DEA’s move to ban the chemicals in bath salts is long overdue. It’s clear that these highly dangerous drugs must be kept off the shelves and out of the hands of drug users,” Brown said. “I applaud the DEA for taking action, but we must act to permanently outlaw these unsafe drugs. That’s why I have sponsored legislation that would permanently and totally outlaw bath salts. This bill has already cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee, and should be passed by Congress and sent to the President as soon as possible.”
MDPV (methylenedioxypyrovalerone) and mephedrone are the main ingredients in these new, widely-available street drugs, now being sold at convenience stores, gas stations, smoke shops, and online as “bath salts” or “plant food.” The drugs are being marketed under names like “Tranquility,” “Ivory Wave,” and “Vanilla Sky.” According to numerous reports, bath salts can cause intense hallucinations, paranoia, and suicidal thoughts. Bath salts have been linked to a host of drug overdoses and deaths in Ohio, including at least one death in Cuyahoga County and three Dayton-area deaths. The State of Ohio, along with many other states, recently passed legislation banning bath salts.
Brown is the cosponsor of the Combating Dangerous Synthetic Stimulants Act of 2011, legislation that would outlaw bath salts by classifying the drug as a Schedule I controlled substance. Schedule I drugs have a high potential for abuse, have no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States and there is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision. Other Schedule I drugs include GHB (rohypnol or“roofies”), heroin, LSD, and peyote.
Brown has worked to fight substance abuse, convening round tables throughout the state with federal officials from the U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Agency, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and state officials from the Attorney General’s office, Department of Health, and Department of Jobs and Family Service. He has also pushed for Ohio to adopt a Medicaid lock-in plan to prevent patients abusing the system by visiting multiple doctors and pharmacies to “shop” for prescription drugs.