Red ribbon week arrives as "bath salts" banned

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"Bath Salts"

(CBS) Red Ribbon Week - the nation's oldest and largest drug-prevention program - kicks off this week, with people around the U.S. wearing red to spotlight the dangers of illegal drugs.

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"By wearing red ribbons and participating in community anti-drug events, young people pledge to live a drug-free life and pay tribute to DEA Special Agent Enriqué "Kiki" Camarena," the Drug Enforcement Administration said in a written statement.

Camarena died in 1985 after being kidnapped and tortured by Mexican drug traffickers as he was close to uncovering a multi-billion dollar pipeline, according to the agency.

Red Ribbon Week comes every October 23 to 31. This year it comes just days after the agency announced plans to ban "bath salts" - which though sold as a toiletry are intended to be abused to get high. The ban covers three specific compounds used in the salts - mephedrone, methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), and methylone. People who use the drugs may experience problems with perception and motor control, disorientation, extreme paranoia, and violent episodes.

The ban will last at least 12 months as officials mull a permanent ban.

The drugs are sold under names including "Ivory Wave," "Purple Wave," "Vanilla Sky," and "Bliss."

Last May, the CDC warned of the dangers of bath salts after 65 people visited Michigan emergency rooms after snorting, injecting, or swallowing the drugs

"This action demonstrates our commitment to keeping our streets safe from these and other new and emerging drugs that have decimated families, ruined lives, and caused havoc in communities across the country," DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart, said in a written statement. "These chemicals pose a direct and significant threat, regardless of how they are marketed, and we will aggressively pursue those who attempt their manufacture and sale."

WebMD has more on bath salts.