By Alex Fitzsimmons
A string of violent outbursts connected to the use of 'bath salts,' has prompted states to take action against some synthetic drugs.
At least 44 states have banned some form of two categories of synthetic drugs: synthetic cannabinoids (spice and K2) and substituted cathinones (bath salts). Both of these links highlight enacted legislation.
While states are leading the charge to curtail the use of synthetic drugs, the federal government is stepping up as well.
On Monday, President Barack Obama signed into law a federal ban on synthetic drugs. The Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act of 2012 bans both substances (spice and bath salts) by placing them under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. The federal law does not preempt state law, which means states remain free to craft their own policies.
In a letter, the White House encouraged states to incorporate both compounds into their state drug schedules. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will work with states and localities to disrupt major distribution networks, while community enforcement will continue to occur at the state and local level.
NCSL’s Criminal Justice Program keeps a close eye on state trends and has compiled comprehensive charts of enacted and pending legislation for both K2 and Bath Salts. Both of these links highlight pending legislation. On the federal side, NCSL Senior Federal Affairs Counsel Susan Frederick recently briefed the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on a number of issues surrounding synthetic drugs.
As the public becomes more aware of the dangers of synthetic drugs, NCSL will continue to monitor state and federal action.