The Drug Enforcement Administration took emergency action to ban three synthetic stimulants used to make products that are marketed at head shops and on the Web as “bath salts,” but are actually used as recreational drugs that mimic the effects of cocaine, LSD, and methamphetamine, the New York Times reports. The measure puts mephedrone, methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) and methylone under the most restrictive federal category for at least a year.
The products, sometimes called plant food, are sold in powder or crystal form under names like Bliss, Purple Wave, Vanilla Sky, and Ivory Wave. Though not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for consumption, they have become increasingly popular, especially among teenagers and young adults. Some states have already banned bath salts, which sell for $25 to $50 for a 50-milligram packet. Some chemicals found in these products are related to an organic stimulant found in Arab and East African countries called khat, which is illegal in the U.S.