There’s good news today for anyone who doesn’t want their face chewed off by some bath-salt fueled cannibal: bath salts are now officially illegal in New York.
Governor Andrew Cuomo just announced that the New York State Department of Health has issued new regulations to crack down on bath-salt abuse, and the use of other synthetic drugs.
“Bath salts and other synthetic drugs pose a direct, serious threat to public health and safety, and we must do everything we can to remove these harmful substances from sale and distribution in New York,” Cuomo said this morning. “The actions we are announcing today attack the problem by helping our law enforcement officers enforce the rules, expanding the list of banned substances used to manufacture bath salts, and imposing tougher penalties so those who sell these drugs are held accountable.”
The gov might be on to something — as we’ve come to find out, synthetic drugs have a tendency to turn people into blood-thirsty maniacs.
In June, we told you about a Texas man who ate his family’s dog while high on synthetic marijuana.
Just a day earlier, we reported on a woman who tried to eat a cop while under the influence of bath salts.
A few weeks earlier, for the second time in less than a month, a Florida man — 26-year-old Charles Baker — was arrested for allegedly taking a bite out someone, also while under the influence of bath salts.
About two weeks before that, a Louisiana man also is suspected of being under the influence of bath salts when he gnawed the face of his neighbor.
And lest we forget the story that kicked off the “Zombie Apocalypse” craze — Miami “zombie” Rudy Eugene, who was suspected to be under the influence of drugs at the time of a brutal cannibalistic attack that left his victim, Ronald Poppo, without a face. Eugene, it turns out, was sober at the time of the attack — an autopsy revealed that the only thing in his system was marijuana.
According to the governor’s office, the new bath-salt ban will “expand the existing list of prohibited drugs and chemicals to include dozens more substances that are now used to make synthetic drugs, better ensuring that distributors can no longer skirt the law by simply modifying the drug’s ingredients.”
In 2011, the gov’s office says, there were 39 reported emergency room visits in upstate New York as a result of bath salts. In 2012, there have been 191 such visits, with 120 occurring this past June and July. According to the New York State Poison Control Center, in 2010 there were only 20 calls concerning synthetic marijuana poisonings. There were 291 in 2011, and there were already 321 through the first six months of 2012.
So, what’s the new ban actually gonna do to dissuade people from using bath salts? Not a whole lot — violators of the ban face a fine of up to $500 and the possibility of up to 15 days in jail.
In other words, we have a feeling that if you’re at a place in your life where you’ve resorted to using bath salts to get high, a mere 15 days in the hoosegow probably isn’t the end of the world.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 7, 2012