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Braunstein law bans sale of some bath salts

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In an attempt to head off a disturbing new trend before it takes hold in New York state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a law Friday banning the sale of certain bath salts, which are being abused as drugs.

State Assemblyman Ed Braunstein (D-Bayside) introduced the bill in February. It was the assemblyman’s first bill to be signed into law.

“Me and some of my staff early on had read reports from other states about people taking these drugs and exhibiting some really bizarre behavior afterwards, like running around in the streets naked and committing murders. We thought if it’s a problem down there, then it can happen here, and we’d better nip it in the bud,” he said.

“One incident took place in Louisiana, when a 21-year-old man cut his throat and shot himself to death. And in Mississippi, a tragedy occurred when a sheriff’s deputy was murdered by a man allegedly under the influence of bath salts,” Braunstein said.

The legislation categorizes the stimulant 4-Methylmethcathinone — also know as Flephedrone, Methylened­ioxymovalc­rone or MDPV — as a Schedule I controlled substance and prohibits the sale, manufacturing, possession or distribution of any products containing it.

The substance is listed in certain plant foods and bath salts under the names Cloud Nine, Scarface, White Dove, Charge, White Lightning, Ivory Wave, Hurricane Charlie, Red Dove and Ocean.

In other parts of the country, the salts are perceived as legal alternatives to cocaine, LSD and methamphetamines.

When smoked, snorted or injected, they can cause extreme paranoia, hallucinations, delusions, agitation, hypertension, chest pain, headaches, heart attack, stroke and suicidal thoughts.

Braunstein said such fake bath salts have already been banned in Britain, Australia and Canada as well as in Florida, North Dakota and Louisiana.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

Updated 11:59 am, October 12, 2011
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