Gov. Andrew Cuomo has added bath salts to a list of substances that are banned for possession in New York, according to the New York Post.
The state’s Health Department is aiming to make it more difficult for manufacturers of designer drugs to get around the law by slightly modifying the ingredients of substances, such as the salts.
Under the new law, violators could face increased penalties of up to $500 in fines and 15 days in jail.
The governor’s office told the Post that the number of emergency room visits as a result of using bath salts had tripled during the past two months.
State Assemblyman Edward Braunstein, D-Bayside, proposed a bill that was signed by Cuomo in 2011 to which could be used as recreational drugs.
Now, Braunstein and state Assemblyman Joseph Griffo, R-Rome, have proposed a new bill that would classify cathinones, which includes bath salts, as Schedule I stimulant controlled substances and create a statewide surrender program for the substances.
Braunstein said the salts are chemically .
“Between the time we developed last year’s legislation and this summer, we have seen an explosion of synthetic drugs that are causing serious law enforcement, health and mental problems for communities and families across New York State,” he said.
The assemblyman said he has proposed the new legislation after drug dealers skirted state laws by make minor alterations to the molecules in the salts.
Braunstein said there have been cases in other states in which individuals who have injected or snorted the salts have committed violent crimes, including murder.