ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York officials are continuing crackdowns on synthetic drugs with new health department rules aimed at sellers. That comes as lawsuits proceed against a dozen shops accused of falsely labeling substances that are used as stimulants or hallucinogens.
The regulations expand the state list of prohibited drugs and chemicals and expose store owners or employees to criminal fines up to $500 and up to 15 days in jail, health officials said Tuesday.
The measures also follow nationwide federal raids two weeks ago that included 14 sellers of synthetic drugs across the state and a federal law in July that bans more than two dozen of the substances use to make so-called “bath salts.”
“Bath salts and other synthetic drugs pose a direct, serious threat to public health and safety, and we must do everything we can to remove these harmful substances from sale and distribution in New York,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
In March, state health officials banned the sale of “synthetic marijuana” that was sold in stores.
Officials said there has been a dangerous rise of synthetic drug use in New York over the past year.
In 2010 there were 20 calls concerning synthetic marijuana poisonings, according to the New York State Poison Control Center. There were 291 in 2011, and 321 through the first six months of 2012.
The designer drugs are sold online, at small convenience stores and smoke shops.
Bath Salts are sold under names such as “White Lightening,” “Snow Leopard,” “Tranquility,” “Zoom,” “Ivory Wave,” “Red Dove,” “Vanilla Sky,” and others. Synthetic marijuana is sold under names such as “Spice,” “K2,” “Blaze” and “Red Dawn X.”
The drugs can produce effects similar to cocaine and amphetamines, including, hallucinations, paranoia, delusions, suicidal thoughts, chest pains, increased blood pressure, and increased heart rates.
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