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Suffolk Legislature Bans Sale of Tainted Bath Salts

Legislators claim the product sold at convenience stores is actually synthetic cocaine.

The Suffolk County Legislature banned the sale of chemicals found in some bath salts on Tuesday, resulting in a product it determined was "powdered synthetic cocaine" and has been ingested as a hallucinogen. 

Sale of such bath salts has already been banned in Louisiana, North Dakota, and Florida, as well as other local municipalities, according to the county, and several others are considering the ban.

While the synthetic chemicals are most commonly found in and marketed as bath salts, they can also be found in other products that "manufacturers make with a wink of an eye," said the sponsor of the bill that calls for the ban.

"We're not banning bath salts at all, per se," said Jon Cooper, D-Huntington. "We are banning the chemical compounds, that's the best way to describe it. Because the manufacturer will call it a bath salt, or pond scum remover, or deodorizer. But what it is, is a drug."

The text of the resolution states that active synthetic ingredients in bath salts include methylone, mephedrone, and MDPV, among others, some of which bear similarities to ingredients extracted from the khat plant, an African plant with a similar stimulant effect as cocaine.

Cooper said that as a legislator eight years ago, he penned the nation's first bill to ban ephedra. Eight months later, he said, it was banned on the federal level. 

"I'm hoping to see something similar to that," he said. "Because these chemicals are synthetically produced and relatively new, they have fallen under the radar screen."

Bath salts not including the harmful chemicals are exempt from the ban.

The measure passed by a unanimous 18-0 vote.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy has not yet signed the bill into law. 

Tanii C. April 27, 2011 at 08:50 PM
Wow what makes a kid think, "maybe I can snort mom's bath salts?" It's shame that this even needs to be discussed.
Greg Martinez April 28, 2011 at 02:03 PM
Unemployment sky high. Economy going down the toilet. Taxes going up. Gas prices up up and away. So what are our politicians in Suffolk working on? Bath salts. Pathetic.
David D'Agostino April 28, 2011 at 02:49 PM
Why is it pathetic to attempt to protect children from "powdered synthetic cocaine" ?
Tom B. April 28, 2011 at 02:58 PM
This drug is NOT really a bath salt. It's just marketed that way by the drug manufacturers to make it seem like a safe, legitimate product. The drug containing MDPV is SYNTHETIC COCAINE and it's causing serious harm to kids nationwide - including reported deaths. Kudos to Legislator Cooper for taking the lead in banning this substance here in Suffolk County.
Lisa Gulino April 28, 2011 at 03:39 PM
Legislator Jon Cooper once again displays energy, commitment, vigilance, courage and timely action to protect and improve all within his purview. Thank you!
BK13 April 28, 2011 at 04:07 PM
Agree. As stated this is just a way to slip drugs past the goalie. BTW, not sure what you think local politicians can do about gas prices.
lynne April 28, 2011 at 07:04 PM
Thank you Jon Cooper!
Phil E. April 28, 2011 at 07:16 PM
Anything that keeps the drug epidemic which is getting worse front and center has to be a good thing... Parents need to be engaged 24/7.
Greg Martinez April 29, 2011 at 02:46 AM
The County Legislature sets a sales tax which is included in our state sales taxes which is part of our gas prices. The state also places mandates on the counties which further raises the costs of local government. County government has numerous agencies and programs, some of which need slimming down or eliminating. Numerous everyday items can be used incorrectly and harm people. People slip and fall on stairs and in bathtubs and can be seriously injured. I do not propose banning staircases or bathtubs. The political classes in our state and at the local level need to wake up. How about jobs for our young people so they do something useful and made to feel they would have a future so they are not inclined to do stupid things.
Greg Martinez April 29, 2011 at 02:56 AM
Hey, is this the same guy that made it harder for sinus suffers to purchase effective cold medicine? Maybe he should conduct a study to see how many young people are injured in car accidents in Suffolk County every year, so he could have a reason to ban cars from the roadways. How much money is it going to cost the taxpayers of Suffolk County to enforce this law? How much more paperwork and regulation will this add to our struggling small, medium, and large retail stores?
tesmith April 29, 2011 at 05:54 PM
drug usage is a symptom , and as usual our society does not want to address the causes, because the root causes are a indictment of our society and the people in charge
Greg Martinez April 29, 2011 at 06:12 PM
tesmith is correct. The answer to drug or chemical abuse is too deal with the behavior itself. Which is a symptom of the decline in our society. This dangerous and foolish behavior must be corrected by family and community. As it says in the Holy Bible: "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." [Proverbs 22:6 - KJV]. Our government needs too get out of the way and let parents and schools discipline children.
brad April 30, 2011 at 12:23 AM
the heroin epidemic should be the number one factor addressed here on Long Island....it is out of control....according to police, Massapequa, Smithtown and Commack are the biggest areas of use....the West Islip community should be concerned....heroin is extremely cheap and highly addictive.... but no one ever will be unless it hits someone close to home...society has changed for the worst....we value cell phone, facebook and the Jersey Shore....time to wake up people
Greg Martinez April 30, 2011 at 03:53 AM
I forgot too mention in my previous post, it is not only the parents and schools that need to get tougher, we need too let our Police force get tougher. It is not new laws that we need. We need to remove the laws and regulations that limit parental, school, and police authority.
Phil E. April 30, 2011 at 11:54 AM
Right on Gregory. Maybe you can get the ball rolling. Your school district does not bother to screen for drug users before they hire them, putting our kids and staff at risk, even though its perfectly legal and never been contested.. If you know of any other school on LI that does maybe we can use them as an example. my email phile123@aol.com Many thanks
Greg Martinez April 30, 2011 at 02:40 PM
If, in fact, it is not Commack School District policy to drug test its employees, including teachers, food preparation, custodial staff, and any other staff, I am shocked by this. Not only new hires, but all current staff that come into contact with minors should be subject to random drug testing. If it is not school board policy to do this, then that would be a new law I would support, not just the Suffolk Legislature, but the State Legislature should pass a law requiring such testing. By the way, it should cost little or nothing to the taxpayers for this to be done, since part of the law can require that the new or current employee pay for the testing. The Stalinist unions will scream and whine about privacy. Well, I say nonsense, nobody has a privacy right to break the law. It is the drug culture that needs to be harassed and smashed by society and government, not private enterprise.
Bruce May 01, 2011 at 12:01 AM
The Feds, not the county banned Sudafed and other sinus medication containing pseudoephedrine hydrochloride from over the counter sales a couple years back. The druggies use it to make their crystal meth. If you want the old Sudafed you have to ask the druggist personally, for a package and show ID.
brad May 01, 2011 at 01:00 AM
Yes, all school employees should be drug tested....however, to require employees to pay for random testing is ridiculous....as someone who does not do drugs, I would be annoyed to pay for this test on a random basis. I have never heard of companies requiring their employees to pay for random drug tests.
Greg Martinez May 01, 2011 at 01:04 AM
I am presuming that school employees are covered by health plans. I see no reason why their health plan should not pay for a random test.
Walter Keenan May 01, 2011 at 04:50 AM
@ Brad - I hear you to an extent, surly it is a knee jerk reaction to agree with you. However why should I or any other tax payer be responsible to pay for a school employee to be drug tested to help insure my child is getting the best possible care that can be offered? If you want to stay employed pay $20 and pee in the cup. It is not like they are asking for daily drug tests that you have to pay for. If you don't like it find another job, my taxes are high enough I don't need to carry the cost of proving school employees are not buying and using illegal drugs.
Joan Bueter August 14, 2012 at 04:09 PM
I absolutely do NOT agree with allowing the police force to get tougher. They are already a gang in blue and have WAY more power than they need. Further, removing laws that limit parental and school authority is a disastrous idea. Those regulations are in place to protect children from abuse. We have been lied to over and over again about drugs for generations so it is no wonder that kids don't believe the lies. Banning more things that could be dangerous is an effort in futility akin to banning cars and bathtubs. Anyway we need to stop lying to kids and treating them like they are stupid. Kids should be trained to stay away from drugs the same way that they are trained to be afraid of fire and electricity. Perhaps it's the parents that need more training. As Brad points out heroin is cheap and readily available so we know that those laws are a dismal failure, the same as the marijuana laws. The problem is not with kids taking the drugs but the reason that they WANT them. Where is the money for those programs?? The politicians have so many more important issues to deal with but leave them lying forgotten on the table while they are banning bath salts to keep their constituents believing that they are doing something useful to earn their bloated salaries.
Joan Bueter August 14, 2012 at 04:15 PM
Yeah, why don't we just drug test EVERYBODY?? You people are living in a dream world where you believe politicians can solve every problem by passing laws. Drug testing unless there is probable cause is invasive and another erosion of our rights. If you test for drugs you should also test for alcohol, tobacco and mental stability. Where does it end? When do people start taking personal responsibility for their actions and stop demanding invasive and costly laws to protect them from themselves? Grow up people.
Joan Bueter August 14, 2012 at 04:20 PM
tesmith You seem to be the only voice of sanity here. People always want to take the easy way and demand that politicians make ever more bad laws to address the symptom instead of the cause. The causes demand self evaluation and who wants to go there? You are absolutely correct.
Joan Bueter August 14, 2012 at 04:21 PM
The Bible isn't going to fix the worlds problems. Mostly it just adds to them.

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