DEA announces new push against synthetic drugs known as "bath salts"

POSTED: Friday, July 27, 2012 - 9:00am

UPDATED: Friday, July 27, 2012 - 9:05am

For the first time the Drug Enforcement Agency has led a nationwide bust of synthetic drugs that had been legal and readily available, but also deadly.

The national crackdown on synthetic marijuana and other designer drugs is called "Operation Log Jam".

Drug enforcement agents have arrested at least 90 people, confiscated more than $36-million in cash and seized millions of the packets that contain the drugs.

"These synthetic drugs are deceptively marketed as bath salts, and spice, and incense, and even marketed as plant food," says ICE criminal investigator James Chaparro.

So-called "bath salts" are snorted or swallowed and can lead to psychosis, agitation and paranoia.

"I have treated them in the Emergency Department, and I have seen this type of behavior...the extreme paranoia, this almost super human strength where they can break through handcuffs," notes psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Bober.

They're sold online and in specialty shops and convenience stores.

Drug enforcement officials had stern words for anyone selling the drugs, even over the counter at gas stations.

"You are nothing more than a drug trafficker," warned DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart. "We will bring you to justice."

President Obama signed a bill into law earlier this month banning the most common synthetic drugs.

Calls to poison control centers about synthetic marijuana more than doubled over the past year.

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