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Bath Salts Synthetic Drug Laws

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What Are Bath Salts?

Bath salts are a type of synthetic drug that contain cathinones, usually methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) or other similar substances. The drugs are generally taken due to their amphetamine-like effects, caused by the release of dopamine, serotonin, and other chemicals in the brain. The drug is typically smoked or swallowed. Although federal laws outlaw bath salts, the substance is sometimes still sold at local smoke shops and gas signs, in packages marked, "not for human consumption".

What Are the Effects of Bath Salt Use?

Bath salts have been linked to a number of highly negative side effects, including:

  • Heart attacks and heart palpitations
  • Nausea, vomiting, and cold fingers
  • Hallucination, anxiety, paranoia, and other mental symptoms
  • Organ failure, including kidney and liver failure

In recent years, bath salts have received much attention in the media due to their association with violent attacks and violent suicides. Also, reports indicate that many users of bath salts have also had pre-existing mental illnesses, which can compound the dangers of the drug use. Drug laws are changing to reflect the recent cases involving bath salt usage.

What Are the Penalties for Bath Salt Crimes?

Possession of bath salts is illegal under federal laws. State laws also prohibit the possession and sale of bath salts, though not all states have outlawed possession yet. Generally speaking, the trend is leaning more towards an outright ban of the substance due to its association with violent crimes and suicides.

Possession of bath salts will generally result in misdemeanor charges. This will usually lead to criminal fines (often up to $1,000 max) and a maximum of one year in jail. Manufacturing, selling, or distributing bath salts will generally result in more serious felony charges (resulting in higher fines/longer jail sentences). Repeat offenders may also face more serious charges.

As with any drug charge, certain defenses may be applicable to the defendant’s case. For instance, if the substance was not actually bath salts, or if evidence was obtained in a way that violated the law, the defendant may be able to claim a defense. Defenses will of course depend on state laws as well as the actual facts surrounding the bath salt crime or incident.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Bath Salt Charges?

Bath salts are dangerous substances and are subject to strict regulation under federal and state laws. You may need to hire a criminal law attorney if you need assistance with any bath salt charges or other legal issues. Your lawyer can help research the laws in your area to determine what your rights are as a defendant. Also, if you have any specific questions or concerns, your attorney can address those as well. If you need to attend any court sessions, your lawyer can also provide representation during those times as well.

Photo of page author Jose Rivera

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 11-02-2016 08:06 PM PDT

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