OTTAWA, June 5 (UPI) -- The Canadian government has begun the process of regulating the chemicals used to make the street drug known as bath salts, the health minister said Tuesday.
Minister Leona Aglukkaq announced in Ottawa the Health Canada agency is moving to place the chemicals in the same category as heroin and cocaine.
So named because the drug resembles real bath salts, the components are widely available legally in Canada.
The Canadian Center for Substance Abuse said bath salts "contain amphetamine-type stimulants, such as methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), methylone or mephedrone.
"These substances are part of the group of drugs known as synthetic cathinones," the center said.
In recent weeks, numerous grisly attacks, homicides, dismemberments and cannibalism in Canada and the United States have been associated with bath salts use.
"These stimulants can cause psychotic episodes and dangerous behavior," the federal release said. "The new rules mean activities such as possession, trafficking, possession for the purpose of trafficking, importation, exportation and production would be illegal unless authorized by regulation."
In the United States, Pennsylvania has declared bath salts illegal and a similar federal move is afoot in Washington.