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Legislative dilemma

June 24, 2011

Auglaize County Prosecuting Attorney Edwin Pierce says that communication at both the local and state levels has been the key weapon in combatting the ever-growing problem of “bath salts” use.
That communication likely will lead to sweeping legislation that has been attached to the state’s budget bill which would take effect July 1.
Pierce said that an amendment has been proposed to add onto Ohio House Bill 153, The Ohio biennial operations budget bill, which will declare the drug as a controlled substance in the Ohio Revised Code (ORC).
Pierce had been contact with state Sen. Cliff Hite, R-Findlay, and state Rep. Robert Sprague, R-Findlay, as recently as two weeks ago and discussed the problem while attending an unrelated meeting. An initially proposed bill did not gain much traction, but the bill is now gaining notice and support as an amendment to the budget bill.
“Everyone agrees that there are some loopholes as far as the legality or possession of bath
salts in the ORC,” Pierce said. “We need to close those loopholes.
See DILEMMA, Page 5A
“Law enforcement is saying this is as significant of a drug as any they have seen in a long time because of the depth of the hallucinogenic effects,” he said.
“Bath salts,” which contain the active ingredients methylenedioxypyrovalerone and mephedrone, is a synthetic psychoactive drug which can be ingested, snorted, injected and smoked. Since both chemicals are analogs of illegal substances that are prohibited by a federal act, but since they are not sold for human consumption then they can be placed on retail shelves labeled as “bath salts.”
The budget bill is currently in Conference Committee between the Senate and the House. Pierce said hopefully it would be out of committee within a week and ready for vote by the Ohio Assembly and signature by Republican Gov. John Kasich.
Pierce said it doesn’t appear that there will be any counter to the amendment.
“It is a great first step,” Pierce said. “We are headed in the right direction.”
The amendment will allow the state to include bath salts as a “Schedule 1” drug in the Ohio Revised Code concerning controlled substances. That would put the drug on an equal or similar level with other drugs controlled under Schedule 1 such as Psilocybin (mushrooms), LSD, morphine, oxycontin (or oxycodone), LSD, ecstasy and heroin, with some of those drugs also having separate and additional control sanctions.
If the budget bill is passed with the amendment, Ohio would be one of the first states to make “bath salts” illegal for sale, use and distribution following Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, North Carolina and Kentucky.
More recently, New Bremen Village Council members passed an ordinance banning bath salts. Earlier this week, Lima City Council members used an ordinance developed by the city of Mansfield as a blueprint for its ordinance banning bath salts.
On Tuesday, Wapakoneta City Council Health and Safety Committee members recommended city Law Director Dennis Faller develop an ordinance based on the state amendment and the city of Mansfield’s ordinance for enforcement in Wapakoneta.
“As people have probably seen in press coverage, many local municipalities from Lima to New Bremen have already taken action on this new growing scourge which is synthetic drugs mislabeled as bath salts, much like K-2 which is a synthetic marijuana,” Councilor-at-large Tom Finkelmeier Jr., who chairs the Health and Safety Committee, said after the meeting on Tuesday. “Since it is technically a legal product, it is too easily available and becoming a problem for law enforcement.
“The reports we have received from Police Chief Russ Hunlock is that this is an escalating problem so we want to do something quickly,” he said. “I feel the will is there to take some action before the state takes action on this matter.”
Pierce says communication with local businesses as well has helped reduce the immediate availability of the drug to the public. Area law enforcement officers have volunteered to travel to Columbus to testify before the General Assembly on the matter.
“All of the area police chiefs at the various departments have expressed a major concern over bath salts,” Pierce said. “They have been a major concern for about a month. They came upon the county rather quickly. I have talked to other county prosecutors who have not even heard of the problem yet. Many of them that have heard about knew only what they have read.”
Pierce said local law enforcement has made it a priority to visit area businesses that have been commonly known for selling the substance.
Auglaize County Sheriff Al Solomon and Wapakoneta Police Chief Russ Hunlock visited three establishments in Wapakoneta who had bath salts on their shelves. Two of the three took them off the shelves after the visit, pledging not to sell them. The third continued but Solomon and Hunlock intended to make a second visit to stress the dangers of the drug.
He said the law enforcement has been active in public education at the businesses as to the problems and ill effects on the local communities.
Pierce said there are six separate chemicals all used it bath salts that will independently be added to the Schedule 1 list. He noted more than five cases have came to his office ever since bath salts reared their ugly head in the county.
“The problem is there is no legislation to do anything as far as use right now,” Pierce said. “The cases we have had have been in reference to other things that have happened as a result of someone using the drug, such as abuse or assault, acting out or obstructions of justice.”
He said local residents should not underestimate the effect of the epidemic. The drug has become popular due to the chemicals involved that promote a combined potency and prolongtivity effect that rivals meth and heroin.

Managing Editor William Laney contributed to this story.

Comments

I have heard of mushroom

October 3, 2011 by jaycorrs (not verified), 3 years 11 weeks ago
Comment: 57

I have heard of mushroom species that can be used to treat psychological problems. In a study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, so-called magic mushrooms were identified as a possibly healing drug. The study discovered that spiritual individuals that took psilocybin, the active narcotic in magic mushrooms, noted mystical encounters and better life fulfillment 14 months later. The drug costs personal loans to get. During the study, the said mushrooms could prove helpful in bringing affective changes.

BAN SUBSTANCES LIKE BATH SALTS FASTER

June 27, 2011 by Pastorlls (not verified), 3 years 25 weeks ago
Comment: 38

Jan. 18, 2011 Itawamba County Sheriff Chris Dickinson shows a packet of what is being sold as bath salts at his office in Fulton, Miss. The product, which can be legally purchased, contain stimulants which authorities claim can cause hallucinations, paranoia and suicidal thoughts and are now among the newest substances law enforcement agents are having to deal with in the streets. (There was a photo on the internet from The Associated Press). There is little or nothing in this product that could be used as bath salts.
It is not clear to me why it has taken so long for Auglaize County and or the city of Wapakoneta, to ban this terrible product. Bath Salts have been in, at least the city of Wapakoneta, for many months. We are told that it only became rampant in June of this year but its use and side effects have been known for much longer.
Why is it that when something so dangerous shows up on the market we have to wait for major legislation to place a ban on it. I am sure that a simple law could have made the purchase and use of these fake bath salts illegal very quickly but no, we have to wait until its use becomes wide spread, and people are hooked and harmed.
The dealers and merchants of the area should be identified to the public. The responsible citizens should then refuse to purchase anything from these places of business until the product is removed. Those who sell bath salts know how they were being used. There have been horror stories all over the internet, on TV, and in newspapers about its use. The countries like India and China where bath salts are produced do not care how it harms Americans and neither do the dealers who sell these products.
The outcome of bath salts use can be devastating. Here is just a little blurb from popular TV nightly news cast at the beginning of June. The side effects of taking too much of this particular drug can lead to a bath salts drug overdose. An overdose will exacerbate the side effects felt from the drug, particularly the hallucinations, abnormal and prolonged paranoia, delusions, psychosis, and in some cases, suicide and death. People who have experienced a bath salts drug overdose often act deranged and commit acts of violence and self-mutilation.
I know that what was said by the newsman is true. How do I know these things? My daughter is in jail at the moment for the use of bath salts, and I have personally seen the influence that they have on the user. The upshot of bath salts use is immediate but it can also last for more than a day or two. We do not know the long term consequences of bath salt use.
Somehow, someone, in government must be more diligent in the discovery and the elimination of dangerous products like this. If we think that we will not see more of these types of products covertly marketed as something other than illegal drugs we must live in a fogged in bubble. I know, I know that people should just be more responsible and not take drugs. But we live in a real world where that is just not going to happen.
Larry Shaffer
Wapakoneta, Ohio

state control

May 8, 2012 by Leticia (not verified), 2 years 32 weeks ago
Comment: 195

To my mind, the main problem here is that the ingredients which seem to be the danger are not regulated by the Food & Drug Administration. Officials with the FDA have indicated that banning unregulated substances for sale, as well as trying to regulate online loans in one hour is a process that can sometimes take years…Louisiana for example has moved to ban the sale of these compounds under an emergency measure, after over 125 calls were made to the state’s poison control center about the compounds. The bath salts are now being marketed under that category as a way to circumvent regulation. Obviously, actual bath salts were intended to be soaked in and not snorted or ingested. And of course, parents and family members should be vigilante and take note if they see any of the above products in a loved one’s possession.

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