The white powder sold as “bath salts,” laced with a designer drug, is legal to buy, but authorities said people snort certain kinds of bath salts to get high.
Scranton’s Mayor Chris Doherty and the Lackawanna County district attorney are drafting a law that would ban the sale and possession of bath salts that contain MDPV within the city limits.
There’s a movement to ban bath salts at the state and federal level, but Doherty sees the drug known as synthetic meth or synthetic cocaine as too dangerous to wait.
Tobacco shops, specialty outlets and even convenience stores can sell bath salts legally at $40 a teaspoon.
Scranton police tell Mayor Doherty teens, young adults, even middle aged men and women are snorting it more and more.
“We have stopped people that have been under the influence and have passed all testing,” said the mayor, “so we know it’s a problem.”
Which is why Mayor Doherty wants to make the bath salts illegal in Scranton. The move is endorsed by police, prosecutors, even a recovering heroin addict, who claims bath salts are the most addictive substance he’s ever tried.
“I want it off the shelves so I can’t get it,” said the man who goes by “Kenny,” which is not his real name.
The ban would also include synthetic marijuana, herbs sprayed with a chemical to mimic pot that is sold openly in even more outlets than bath salts.
Would a ban that ends at the Scranton city limits be effective?
“It’s a start and you have to start somewhere,” said Mayor Doherty. “We recognize the problem. We’re going to address it, and hopefully in the very near future, it will be outlawed through the entire state.”
Experts said a ban would help curtail the use of bath salts and other synthetic drugs but, they add chemists are likely designing other drugs to replace bath salts, if those substances are banned.