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Md. May Make ‘Bath Salts’ Drug Illegal

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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Growing in popularity and growing more dangerous. Bath salts are fast becoming a household name, but should they be legal?

Kelly McPherson explains why the Maryland is looking into a state-wide ban.

It’s like methamphetamine and can cause paranoia and agitation for weeks. Bath salts are legal in Maryland . . . for now.

“If you’re doing the stuff, stop it. And if you haven’t done it, don’t. That’s all I can say about that bath salts. It’s bad. It killed my boy,” said James Baldwin.

Since his son Joey Baldwin died from using bath salts in Texas, the legislature there is about to ban the substance.

In Ohio, where dozens have overdosed, a local prosecutor has asked stores to stop stocking the products.

The salts are gaining popularity in Maryland. In 2010 there were two calls to the state poison control. This year, there’s already been 22, and one western Maryland man has died.

Just last month, federal agents seized barrels of the substance in a storage space in Frederick County.

A Fells Point smoke shop used to sell the bath salts, which are also marketed as fertilizer.  However, the clerk says more people have been coming in and asking for it.

“They’re taking it orally, they’re shooting it, they’re snorting it, they’re smoking it, they’re pretty much trying to get it into their system any way they can,” said Dr. Tom Cargiulo, Director Alcohol and Drug Abuse Administration.

The state is now considering making it illegal to sell or posses the drug by classifying its chemical ingredients as controlled substances.

Because the chemical doesn’t show up on typical drug tests, the concern is that there are more users than reported.

“The hospital or the medical people may not be aware that this is a problem, Cargiulo said.  “We want to make sure that we’re getting in front of this before we start seeing more significant problems.”

One smoke shop owner told WJZ off camera that the people looking for these chemicals are in the military or in high-paying jobs where drug tests are required.  Because this is legal, it wouldn’t cause someone to fail a drug test.  That could be changing.

The state health department expects to decide on this issue by mid-July.

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