Stern’s Fight to Get Bath Salts Listed as a Controlled Substance Moves One Step Closer to Becoming Law

HARRISBURG – The House of Representatives today passed legislation that included a provision originally sponsored by Rep. Jerry Stern (R-Blair) to include a designer drug known as “bath salts” to the state’s controlled substance list.

“I am pleased that language I supported to ban the sale of bath salts was eventually included in a Senate bill that is moving quickly through the legislative process,” said Stern. “The quicker we get this provision into law, the quicker we can start prosecuting the users and sellers of this drug and start curbing its proliferation in our communities.”

In addition to including the chemical compounds that make up bath salts to the controlled substance list, Senate Bill 1006 would also add Salvia Divinorium, Salvinorin A, Divinorin A, synthetic marijuana and psychedelic phenethylamines (referred to as C2) to the list.

Under current law, a first offense for delivery or possession with the intent to deliver would result in five years in prison and a $15,000 fine.  Simple possession of substances on the list would be a misdemeanor and a $5,000 fine and a maximum of one year in prison.  On second and subsequent violations, the maximum fine and penalty would double.

Sold primarily in some tobacco shops, hemp stores and other non-traditional locations, bath salts are part of a new group of designer drugs. The salts, also referred to as “blizzard,” have a similar effect of methamphetamines, and can cause high blood pressure, increased heart rate, psychosis, extreme paranoia and a desire to act violently. 

 “People here in Blair County and across the Commonwealth are dying from the use of this drug,” said Stern. “This is a dangerous substance that needs to be taken off the shelves where drug addicts and young adults looking to experiment legally have access to them. These are not the type of bath salts the average consumer purchases from mass market retailers, but dangerous chemical compounds that can be found in some niche specialty stores.”

Stern noted that the compounds found in these new, dangerous bath salts have already been banned in Europe, as well as several states throughout the country.

An amendment added to bill also includes language barring all chemicals that are similar to the substances that are currently found in bath salts and 2C, and prohibits those chemical compounds from being used to create the same effect as the current bath salts and 2C chemical structures. This addition to the law will make Pennsylvania’s the strongest such law in the nation.

Senate Bill 1006 was amended by the House and now returns to the Senate for final approval before heading to the governor’s desk.

State Representative Jerry Stern
80th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Tricia Lehman  

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