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Is NJ’s Ban On Bath Salts Working?

State officials say incidents involving synthetic marijuana and “bath salts” drugs have significantly declined since New Jersey banned them.

Stacy Proebstle, Townsquare Media

Attorney General Jeff Chiesa today announced that, according to data collected by the New Jersey Poison Information & Education System, and by the State Police Office of Forensic Science, reported incidents have taken a sharp decrease.

“Before we took action to ban these dangerous drugs in New Jersey, they were sold as a so-called ‘legal high’ by shady retailers with no regard for their catastrophic side effects,” Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa said.  “Today it is unambiguously clear that, here in New Jersey, synthetic marijuana and ‘bath salts’ are just as illegal as cocaine or heroin.  Thankfully, the numbers demonstrate that our bans on these drugs are working.”

Decline in Synthetic Marijuana Incidents

Six months ago, on February 28, 2012, New Jersey became the fourth state to comprehensively ban all of the hundreds of possible variants of synthetic marijuana, by order of the Director of the State Division of Consumer Affairs.  Since then:

  • Cases of individuals being exposed to synthetic marijuana, as reported to New Jersey’s Poison Control hotline, have declined by 33 percent.
  • The State Police Office of Forensic Science has seen a 77 percent decline in the number of synthetic marijuana incidents submitted by law enforcement – even as the number of drug submissions overall is up about 10 percent over last year.  (In March 2012, the Office of Forensic Science received 83 individual samples of synthetic marijuana substances submitted for testing by law enforcement agencies from across New Jersey – compared with just 19 submissions to the Office in July 2012).

Decline in “Bath Salts” Incidents

New Jersey banned “bath salts” drugs on April 27, 2011, also by order of the Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs.  Since then:

  • Cases of individuals being exposed to “bath salts,” as reported to New Jersey’s Poison Control hotline, have declined by 66 percent.

The Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs banned synthetic marijuana and “bath salts” drugs by separate Orders that added them to the list of Schedule I Controlled Dangerous Substances in New Jersey in December of 2011.

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