A new type of drug has been making national news lately. Commonly referred to as "bath salts," these synthetic drugs are designed to mirror the effects of other illegal drugs, such as PCP. A recent attack in Florida by a man believed to be under the influence of bath salts may lead to increased penalties for those convicted of drug crimes associated with these drugs.
The Florida attack, which made national news, concerned an individual who was gruesomely attacking another man. When ordered to stop by law enforcement, the attacker growled at the officers, ignoring their commands. Eventually, the officers shot and killed the man.
Officers compared the case to other similar situations in the area, and were concerned about the "super human strength" that some users of bath salts exhibit. However, because the ingredients being used often change, it can be difficult to determine if someone is under the influence of a banned substance.
In Arizona, Governor Jan Brewer signed a bill this past February that regulated seven chemicals frequently found in bath salts. Many other states also have similar rules in place, and the Drug Enforcement Agency also has an emergency order in place that makes it a crime to possess certain ingredients commonly found in bath salts.
Because the drugs change so frequently, it can be difficult for officials to know what they need to be looking for or regulating. This can lead to serious problems for individuals facing drug crimes charges due to possession of bath salts. Certain materials may be considered to be bath salts but not be illegal, meaning that these could be highly contested cases.
Many bath salts would not show up on a blood test, meaning that law enforcement would just have to guess that a person is under the influence based on behavior. This could lead to potential abuses of discretion by the officer.
It is important to understand your options if you have been charged with a drug crime. Since bath salt legislation is new and evolving quickly, you need to know how to protect yourself. A drug crimes conviction will have a lasting impact on your life.
Source: AZFamily.com "Bath salts to blame for face-eating 'zombie' attack in Miami?" Catherine Holland, May 29, 2012.