Drug Eyed In Nightclub Deaths

ALBANY (CBSNewYork/AP) — State officials are hoping to cleanse New York City nightclubs of a deadly form of the “bath salts” drug.

The law prohibits the sale, use and possession of the drug and makes changes to the state’s banned substance list. Under the law signed last week by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, selling the stimulant to children on school grounds is a felony.

Sen. Joseph Griffo says dealers are passing the drug off as the party narcotic known as Molly.

“In fact, the drug is the same kind of dangerous narcotic that causes violence and death,” said Griffo, an Oneida County Republican.

Democratic Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz, chairman of the Alcohol and Substance Abuse Committee, said the need for action was made clear by the deaths of young adults in rave parties in New York City this summer.

“It took some tragic overdoses to finally put this drug in the headlines, but the reality is that bath salts have been an insidious danger responsible for an alarming spike in emergency room visits for the last several years,” said Cymbrowitz, a Brooklyn Democrat.

Molly is also being eyed in connection with the deaths of two people at last month’s Electric Zoo music festival, although toxicology reports are still pending. Jeffrey Russ, 23, of Rochester, N.Y. and Olivia Rotondo, 20, of Providence, R.I.

The drugs known as bath salts are manufactured stimulants similar to methamphetamines. Users have suffered heart attacks, seizures, permanent brain damage and severe hallucinations. Authorities blame the drug for some suicides and violent behavior.

The bill, sponsored by Assemblyman Ed Braunstein, of Queens, was overwhelmingly approved by the Legislature.

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