Bath Salts in Maine: Present, Dangerous and Now Illegal

After blogging about the dangers of bath salts about a month ago, it seems like the new synthetic drug has been popping up in the news more often. After quick action from the Maine legislature, though, bath salts are now illegal in Maine.

Here in Maine, we’ve seen a surge of emergency room visits due to people overdosing on the chemicals that make up bath salts. The Portland Press Herald reported that health officials and police were growing increasingly concerned with their growing interactions with people on bath salts. According to the article, one patient’s muscles were so broken down that he went into kidney failure.

Crossroads for Women and other local treatment agencies have been hearing more and more about the drug being used in areas all around the state. The Bangor Daily News reported a 20 year old man breaking into an apartment in Lincoln while apparently hallucinating on bath salts, along with a chilling story of how bath salts quickly took over the life of one Bangor man in just a few short weeks.

Where did this synthetic drug – also known as Zoom 2,  Aura, Ivory Wave, Red Dove, Bliss, White Lightning, Hurricane Charlie or Vanilla Sky, among other names- come from? It’s hard to tell, but it’s here, it’s dangerous, and thanks to the quick actions of the Maine legislature, it’s now illegal.

Yesterday, Governor Paul LePage signed into law a bill that targets the synthetic drug known as bath salts. The bill establishes a $350 fine for possession of the substance and penalties for trafficking that can carry jail time for repeat offenses.

Though the bill is being criticized for being too lenient because the charges are only misdemeanors, at least we have something on the books to work with. Maine Public Safety Commissioner John Morris noted that his department will work on making bath salts penalties a felony in the next legislative session according to a Kennebec Journal article. Maine Drug Enforcement Agency Director Roy McKinney indicated in the same article that “We will be focusing on the traffickers. That is where we can do the most disruption to the sale of these dangerous drugs.”

Kudos to the Maine legislature for acting so quickly on making bath salts illegal in Maine. Time will tell if the new legislation will make a difference in the spreading of the dangerous synthetic drug.