"Bath salts" are a category of new designer drugs that are marketed as a bath product but are actually used by recreational drug users to get high. New legislation banning "bath salts" is has just cleared the New Jersey Senate Committee and appears to be on its way to the Governor of New Jersey for signing.
These so-called "bath salts" are currently sold legally in convenience stores, head shops, and even gas stations. They are used by recreational drug users and abusers as a relatively cheap and legal alternative to methamphetamine and cocaine. While these designer drugs are most commonly known as "bath salts," other enterprising merchants are offering them as "plant food" or "research chemicals" to circumvent the law. Many carry labeling that they are not for human consumption, which further increases the difficulty of controlling them.
The New Jersey law has been nicknamed Pamela's Law after a Rutgers University study, Pamela Schmidt, who was murdered by her boyfriend, William J. Parisio who was allegedly under the influence of "bath salts" purchased legally from a convenience store. These designer drugs affect the body similarly to methamphetamine and can cause chest pains, increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, agitation, hallucinations, extreme paranoia, suicidal thoughts and delusions. Pamela's Law is an attempt to recognize that these new substances are actually dangerous drugs and the attempt to sell them as bath products, plant food, or other harmless substances is deceptive.
Under the proposed law, it would become a crime of the third degree to possess, manufacture, or distribute products containing the ingredients in these "bath salts." These ingredients are:
- 4-methylmethcathinone (mephedrone, 4-MMC)
- 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV)
- 3,4-methylenedioxymethcathinone (methylone, MDMC)
- 4-methoxymethcathinone (methedrone, bk-PMMA, PMMC)
- 3-fluoromethcathinone (3-FMC)
- 4-fluoromethcathinone (flephedrone, 4-FMC).
In New Jersey, third-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $15,000 fine.
The NJ Attorney General has already banned these substances, but the order is only in effect for 270 days. Passage of the law would make the ban permanent.
If the bill is passes, New Jersey would join Florida, Louisiana and North Dakota in criminalizing "bath salts". "Bath salts" are also illegal in European Union, Australia, Canada, and Israel.