Canada criminalizes 'bath salts' drug

Sept. 26, 2012 at 11:06 AM

OTTAWA, Sept. 26 (UPI) -- The Canadian government made the street drug known as bath salts illegal Wednesday, putting it in the same category as heroin and cocaine, officials said.

Federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq made the announcement in Ottawa, saying it was now "illegal to possess, traffic, import or export, unless authorized by regulation."

The name for the drug is methylenedioxypyrovalerone, or MDPV. It resembles, but is no way related to, such legitimate bath salts such as Epsom salts, a health ministry release said.

Most users eat the drug but it can be snorted through the nose.

Users get a similar "rush" as with amphetamines but since the drug appeared in 2010 there have been unconfirmed reports of users experiencing violent behavior, heart attack, kidney or liver failure and suicide. Hallucinations and panic attacks have also been linked to the drug's use.

The health ministry said police and the Canada Border Services Agency can make arrests and confiscate illicit bath salts.

While more than 30 U.S. states have similar bans, UPI found various websites still offering bath salts for less than $30.

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