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The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) on Wednesday announced it is temporarily banning three synthetic stimulants that are sold as “bath salts.” The ban makes it illegal to possess and sell these chemicals or the products that contain them. The DEA said the action is necessary to protect the public from the imminent hazard posed by these dangerous chemicals.

The DEA has designated the chemicals as Schedule I substances, the most restrictive category of drugs, which are considered unsafe, highly abused substances with no currently accepted medical use in the United States. The ban will take effect in 30 days, and will last at least one year. During that time, the government will study whether it should permanently ban the three stimulants, Mephedrone, MDPV and Methylone.

According to CBS News, at least 27 states have already banned bath salts.

Bath salts are marketed under names such as “Ivory Wave,” “Purple Wave,” “Vanilla Sky” or “Bliss.” The drugs mimic the effects of cocaine, LSD, Ecstasy and/or methamphetamine. According to the DEA, users have reported impaired perception, reduced motor control, disorientation, extreme paranoia and violent episodes. Bath salts have become increasingly popular among teens and young adults. The DEA notes the Food and Drug Administration has not approved bath salts for human consumption or for medical use, and there is no government supervision of the manufacturing process.

According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, calls to poison centers about exposures to bath salts has dramatically increased, from a total of 303 last year to 4,137 in the first seven months of 2011.

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