The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) today exercised its emergency scheduling authority to control three synthetic stimulants (Mephedrone , 3,4 methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) and Methylone) used to make products marketed as “bath salts” and “plant food”. Except as authorized by law, this action makes possessing and selling these chemicals, or the products that contain them, illegal in the United States. This emergency action was necessary to prevent an imminent threat to the public safety. The temporary scheduling action will remain in effect for at least one year while the DEA and the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) further study whether these chemicals should be permanently controlled.
The Final Order was published today in the Federal Register to alert the public to this action. These chemicals will be controlled for at least 12 months, with the possibility of a six month extension. They are designated as Schedule I substances, the most restrictive category under the Controlled Substances Act. Schedule I status is reserved for those substances with a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted use for treatment in the United States and a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug under medical supervision.
Over the past several months, there has been a growing use of, and interest in, synthetic stimulants sold under the guise of “bath salts” or “plant food”. Marketed under names such as “Ivory Wave”, “Purple Wave”, “Vanilla Sky” or “Bliss”, these products are comprised of a class of chemicals perceived as mimics of cocaine, LSD, MDMA, and/or methamphetamine. Users have reported impaired perception, reduced motor control, disorientation, extreme paranoia, and violent episodes. The long-term physical and psychological effects of use are unknown but potentially severe. These products have become increasingly popular, particularly among teens and young adults, and are sold at a variety of retail outlets, in head shops and over the Internet. However, they have not been approved by the FDA for human consumption or for medical use, and there is no oversight of the manufacturing process.
In the last six months, DEA has received an increasing number of reports from poison control centers, hospitals and law enforcement regarding products containing one or more of these chemicals. Thirty-seven states have already taken action to control or ban these or other synthetic stimulants. The Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984 amends the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to allow the DEA Administrator to temporarily schedule an abused, harmful, non-medical substance in order to avoid an imminent hazard to public safety while the formal rule-making procedures described in the CSA are being conducted.
“This action demonstrates our commitment to keeping our streets safe from these and other new and emerging drugs that have decimated families, ruined lives, and caused havoc in communities across the country,” said DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart. “These chemicals pose a direct and significant threat, regardless of how they are marketed, and we will aggressively pursue those who attempt their manufacture and sale.”