Assemblyman Braunstein Announces Passage of New Bath Salts Legislation

Assemblyman Edward C. Braunstein (D-Bayside) announced the passage of legislation in the Assembly and Senate that would further curb the use of bath salts by adding new compounds used to make these types of drugs to the state's banned substances list (A.717-A/S.3469-A-Griffo). The legislation would classify these compounds as Schedule I stimulant controlled substances and imposes criminal penalties on those who sell, use and/or possess these drugs. The bill would also make it a felony to sell the substances to a minor or on school grounds.

Bath salts is a commonly-used term for man-made stimulant drugs that are similar to methamphetamines. These drugs can stimulate both the nervous system and the cardiac system and can cause heart attacks, seizures, permanent brain damage and severe hallucinations. Reports have shown that an individual's behavior on bath salts can sometimes lead to suicide or the harm of others. In 2011, the state enacted a law proposed by Assemblyman Braunstein and Senator Joseph A. Griffo (R-C-IP-Rome), that banned the sale or distribution of any product containing Mephedrone and MDPV, which were being marketed at the time for recreational use as bath salts, and classified these stimulants as controlled substances.

"We have seen too many examples and heard too many stories all over our state and around the country about these dangerous, unpredictable drugs that have devastating effects," Assemblyman Braunstein said. "Since we passed the ban in 2011, we have seen an explosion of bath salts made from new compounds created by drug dealers to avoid the current law. These drugs are causing serious law enforcement, health, and mental health problems for communities and families across New York State. This legislation makes significant strides toward permanently getting bath salts off the streets of our communities."

"Unfortunately, the disturbing and oftentimes tragic use of bath salts is all too prevalent in New York, despite current federal and state regulations that have been put in place to restrict and criminalize their availability," Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said. "We need to close any of the remaining loopholes that make it far too easy for someone to purchase and use such dangerous substances. Doing so will help protect our families and keep our communities safer."

Senator Griffo (R-C-IP, Rome), sponsor of the Senate companion version said, “These so-called ‘bath salts’ are not the same as aromatic bath salts. They contain a potentially lethal mix of synthetic drugs and serve no purpose other than to get the user high. Our legislation sought to ban these dangerous substances so we may help keep our young people safe and give our law enforcement the authority to rid our State of these dangerous drugs. What we are finding since the law took effect is that more action is needed because of the incidents taking place across New York.”

“There is a can-do spirit in Albany that says when there is a public safety priority to address, we work as partners and we move as fast as we can and we work as hard as we can to get results,” Griffo added. “Assemblyman Braunstein’s efforts will help make New York safer."