Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday, August 7 a new regulation making it illegal to sell or possess bath salts or other synthetic drugs.
The new regulation, issued by the New York State Department of Health (DOH) and approved by the Public Health and Health Planning Council, will expand the list of prohibited drugs and chemicals to include dozens of substances now used to make synthetic drugs. Any owner or seller of synthetic drugs will be charged with possession of an illicit substance. Violators may face fines of up to $500 and up to 15 days in jail.
Over the years, there has been a rise in synthetic drug use in New York. In 2011, there were 39 reported emergency room visits in upstate New York as a result of bath salts. In 2012 so far, there have been 191 of these visits.
When consumed these synthetic drugs can produce dangerous effects, similar to cocaine and amphetamines, including hallucinations, paranoia, delusions, suicidal thoughts, violent behavior, chest pains, increased blood pressure and increased heart rate.