Miami-Dade commissioners close to banning "bath salts"

Synthetic cocaine sold as "bath salts"

(CBS/WFOR) MIAMI - Miami-Dade commissioners on Tuesday gave preliminary approval to outlaw the sale of the synthetic drug known as "bath salts."

The drug has been making headlines after it was rumored Rudy Eugene may have been under their influence when he chewed off half of a homeless man's face on the MacArthur Causeway in Miami last month. The toxicology results have not yet been released.

Bath salts usually contain the stimulants Methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), mephedrone, and pyrovalerone, CBS Miami reports. The Drug Enforcement Agency groups bath salts with mescaline and ephedrine, while dealers market the drug as a replacement for cocaine or a synthetic form of the hallucinogen LSD, according to CNN.

CBS affiliate WKMG reports that the chemicals are sold under such names as Ivory Wave, Bliss, White Lightning and Hurricane Charlie. Police say bath salts can cause hallucinations, paranoia, rapid heart rates and suicidal thoughts. The chemicals are in products sold legally at convenience stores and on the Internet as bath salts and even plant foods. 

According to CBS Miami, manufacturers have managed to sidestep state law banning dozens of the stimulants by slightly altering the drugs' chemical makeup. The Miami-Dade county ordinance would also ban sales or advertising displays for anything structurally similar to a list of banned compounds. Violators could face $500 in fines and up to 60 days in jail.

The bath salts ban comes up for final approval on July 3.

Synthetic marijuana has also been targeted by Miami-Dade commissioners to be banned, CBS Miami reports.

Complete coverage of bath salts on Crimesider