A synthetic drug manufacturer has already created a product that skirts a new Pennsylvania law banning “bath salts,” synthetic marijuana and salvia. The Harrisburg Patriot-News reports the new product, as yet unnamed, should be available in at least one head shop on Wednesday. The law went into effect on Monday.
According to the newspaper, the new product promises to have effects that are similar to synthetic marijuana. It is a mixture of natural herbs that will come with a certification stating it is not banned under the new law.
Synthetic drugs pose a particularly difficult challenge for police, the article notes. When a person is caught with a potentially illegal drug, the police must confirm whether the drug is made with an outlawed chemical compound. Justin McShane, an attorney who specializes in forensic science, told the newspaper he thinks problems with identifying synthetic drugs could cause problems in the courts. “They can’t test it like they test coke and marijuana,” he said. “Right now, there’s not a uniform process in place.”
In June, a Pennsylvania DUI (driving under the influence) expert said the growing popularity of bath salts has contributed to the rise in the number of arrests related to drugged driving in Pennsylvania. George Geisler, Drug Recognition Expert at the PA DUI Association, said that because bath salts are currently legal in Pennsylvania, people think it’s fine to take them and drive. In the past three years, the number of drug-DUI arrests in Pennsylvania jumped from 15 percent of all DUI arrests in 2008 to 23 percent in 2010. Geisler says much of that rise is due to the boom in the popularity of synthetic drugs such as bath salts.
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