Accompanied by Health Commissioner Harry Chen and Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn, Gov. Peter Shumlin today banned a new designer drug commonly called "bath salts.'
The Governor said the Health Department received a temporary emergency rule change to regulate the synthetic stimulant of mephedrone and methylenedioxypyrovalerone, which can create symptoms including agitation, psychosis, chest pain, high blood pressure, stimulatory effects and ongoing suicidal impulses and action. The drug can be snorted, injected or mixed with food or drink.
"This is a very dangerous drug that has led to deaths around the country," Gov. Shumlin said. "While Vermont has not experienced the problems seen elsewhere at this point, we need to move now to ensure "bath salts' don't become the dangerous drug of choice here."
That rule was approved for 120 days to allow the Department time to seek a permanent ban on the bath salt drugs.
"Although this drug is relatively new, our knowledge about its precise chemical composition and short- and long-term effects is limited. Still, the information we do have is worrisome and warrants the proactive stance championed Gov. Shumlin," said Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn. "The Governor getting out in front of this new drug craze and stopping it at our borders is in the best interest of public safety in Vermont."
The drug is made from legal chemicals that are sold in drug stores. They are marketed as bath salts, with a disclaimer that they are not appropriate for human consumption. Bath salts can be ordered online or even purchased in some stores and truck stops.
The stimulant is not listed as a Schedule 1 drug and therefore is legal in states that have not implemented a ban. Almost 30 states have banned bath salts, and Sen. Patrick Leahy is proposing similar legislation in Congress.