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Jun 11, 2012 12:40 AM by Jacqui Heinrich

Legislators worry bath salts ban isn't enough

The street drug known as 'bath salts' is outlawed in Colorado after a string of drug-induced, flesh-eating attacks made national headlines. But as News 5 found, the drug is still very much available on the streets of Colorado Springs.

Despite Governor Hickenlooper banning the sale and distribution of bath salts on Thursday, people don't have to look far to find it. The fourth shop our News 5 reporter visted carried a variety of bath salts, illustrating the scope of the problem in Colorado Springs.

"Cathinones, more commonly known as bath salts, it's a very serious problem in Colorado and across the nation," Representative Bob Gardner told News 5. Gardner authored the bill passed last week outlawing the drug.

Psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Bober says, "These are substances that are known to be stimulants. They can cause psychosis, agitation, paranoia. They basically turn a person into a wild beast. They turn off the part of the brain that causes rational control over your decisions." Surveillance video from that Miami highway where a homeless man's face was chewed off by a man under the influence of bath salts back in May demonstrates the dangerous nature of the drug.

Though bath salts are now banned in Colorado, lawmakers worry that it won't be long before chemical designers come up with a new version. "There are people out there, very bad people, who are working constantly to find one more chemical compound, one more variation," Gardner says.

The endless possibilities of chemical creations are the reason why Gardner believes this one bill isn't enough. "I've advocated for some kind of a process where we can quickly on an emergency basis schedule designer drugs and in other words prohibit them. We'll be dealing with another designer drug next year and the year after and the year after, because there's no limit to what a chemist who is unethical will do."

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