The abuse of a dangerous, but legal, drug in Ohio has law-enforcement officers seeking ways to keep it off the streets until legislators ban the substance, says the Columbus Dispatch. The drugs, being marketed as “bath salts” in convenience stores and carryouts, are synthetic forms of a powerful stimulant called cathinone. Cathinone can’t be made or sold legally in the U.S. without a Drug Enforcement Administration license, but because the synthetic forms are not listed as controlled substances, they are not technically illegal.
Police say they’re alarmed by the paranoia and often-violent hallucinations that people who use the drugs – by snorting, smoking or injecting them – experience while high. The American Association of Poison Control Centers says more than 2,200 people have called poison-control centers since January because of adverse reactions to drugs sold as bath salts. That compares with 302 calls all of last year. Several states, including Florida, Louisiana, North Dakota, and West Virginia, have temporarily banned the drugs, with similar legislation pending in many more states.