The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has placed a temporary ban on three synthetic chemicals that are ingredients in a new recreational drug mixture known to users as “bath salts” or “plant food”. The DEA’s action makes it illegal to possess or sell mephedrone, methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), and methylone for at least one year while the DEA studies the chemicals to see if they should be banned permanently. The DEA has the authority to do this when chemicals that have a high potential for abuse, no known medical use, and no evidence of safety.
According to users, the chemicals are thought to mimic the actions of cocaine, LSD, and MDMA. The three chemicals are being marketed as “bath salts” or “plant food” on the Web and in head shops under names like Bliss, Vanilla Sky, and Ivory Wave, at a cost of $25-$50 per 50-mg packet.
The DEA took the action because of reports of impaired perception, disorientation, paranoia, and extreme violence among users. The long-term effects of the drugs are unknown. Thirty-seven states have already taken action to curb or ban the chemicals.