DHEC Moves Forward with Bath Salts Ban

South Carolina Criminal Defense Attorneys

WIS-TV is reporting that South Carolina health officials on Thursday worked on an emergency regulation to ban chemicals found in synthetic drugs that law enforcement officials say are sweeping the state.

“We feel like this is the way to address this very emerging issue and very much a changing issue,” Adam Myrick, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Environmental Control, said about the effort to ban bath salts and synthetic marijuana.

The Dangers of Bath Salts and Synthetic Marijuana

Bath salts are a stimulant that can imitate the effects of cocaine, LSD and methamphetamine. Synthetic marijuana, also known as “K2” or “Spice,” is sold as blends of herbs and plant materials coated with chemicals that produce a euphoric feeling when smoked. The substance was never tested on humans.

South Carolina Law Enforcement officers have been preparing for action against the drugs.  Authorities say the salts present a health hazard to the teens and young people who buy them at about $25 a package. Some retailers have willingly stopped selling the products.

The synthetic substance has recently proven to be deadly across the state.  In early October, a 19-year-old basketball player at Anderson University died after ingesting JWH-018, a chemical used to make the drug.

According to reports, Coroner Greg Shore said the athlete complained of cramps and vision problems before collapsing during a preseason workout. The athlete later passed away from acute drug toxicity and multiple organ failure.

Both bath salts and synthetic marijuana are currently legal in South Carolina, even though six cities and counties have passed their own bans imposing civil penalties for anyone caught selling, making or possessing the drugs, which are currently sold at a number of local gas stations and other small novelty shops.

DHEC has not determined exactly what the punishment for violating the ban will be. When it goes into effect, which could be as early as tomorrow, Myrick said DHEC’s ban would do the same thing on a statewide level that the county bans achieve.

“It will tide us over until the DEA publishes its rescheduling of the substances,” Myrick said. “It also carries us over with the 90 days into the next legislative session.”

Lawmakers will return to Columbia  next January, but laws addressing the drugs are already being discussed.

By: South Carolina Criminal Defense Attorney Pete Strom



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