TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Jan. 27 (UPI) -- The Florida attorney general has banned the sale of a product sold as "bath salts," but used as fake cocaine, officials said.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi banned the sale of the products Wednesday, making Florida the second state to do so, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported.
Louisiana previously banned the sale of the product, which is sold at gas stations and specialty shops. The product has sent dozens of users to emergency rooms and mental health hospitals in recent months, the report said.
The "bath salts" contain a chemical called MDPV, which is said to produce a high similar to that of cocaine.
Bondi said her emergency order would add products containing MDPV to the schedule of controlled substances, making it a third-degree felony to sell them.
"To put it in perspective, that's right up there with cocaine and heroin," Bondi said in a news conference held at the Capitol in Tallahassee.
Florida's poison control centers have reported 61 calls about abuse of the product. Most of the state's cases came from central and northern Florida, the report said.
"These are mostly people with a pattern of drug abuse," said Wendy Stephan, with Miami's Florida Poison Information Center. "We've even heard of a number of pregnant women who used it."
The Drug Enforcement Administration in December listed MDPV as a drug of concern, but it has no current plans to ban its sale.