TRENTON, NJ (AP / CBSNewYork) - Calling them an imminent threat to public safety, New Jersey Attorney General Paula Dow has filed emergency rules designed to immediately ban the sale and manufacture of synthetic drugs sold as "bath salts.''
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"The name sounds innocent. They are not," said Dow. "We're not talking about what the old days people referred to as the Epsom salts."
Authorities say these are drugs sold at head shops and truck stops.
State consumer affairs acting director Thomas Calcagni says just this month, three users went to the hospital, including a 42-year-old man.
"He was foaming at the mouth, breathing rapidly," said Calcagni.
The drugs can be snorted to mimic the effects of cocaine and methamphetamines. The compound can be purchased legally in most of the country.
"Reported psychological side effects include extreme anxiety and paranoia," said Dow.
Six chemicals associated with the manufacture of the drugs will be classified in new Jersey as Class 1 controlled dangerous substances. Manufacture, distribution, sale, or possession of the chemicals will be considered a crime punishable by three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.
Dow says Louisiana and Florida have also banned the drugs.
Dow says anyone who voluntarily surrenders the bath salts drugs to police by May 8 will not face criminal charges.
Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York has also called for a ban.
(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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