'Bath Salts' Crackdown
State Targets Vendors Selling Drug
~ By Sean Gardiner
New Jersey store owners who have been peddling a designer hallucinogenic drug labeled as bath salts and plant food have 10 days to voluntarily surrender them or face criminal consequences, according to New Jersey Attorney General Paula Dow.
On Thursday, Ms. Dow set a May 18 deadline for storeowners who have been selling the drugs to surrender them or be at risk for arrest on charges of distribution, sale or possession of drugs.
The drugs—packaged under names such as "Energizing Aromatherapy," "Ivory Wave" and "Vanilla Sky"—were placed on the state's Controlled Dangerous Substance list on Wednesday. The penalty for possession of these designer drugs now is three to five years imprisonment and a fine of up to $25,000, Ms. Dow said.
The drugs came to state legislators' attention in March when a 22-year-old Rutgers student named William Parisio is alleged to have murdered his 22-year-old girlfriend, Pamela Schmidt, of Warren Township, in his parent's Cranford home. Mr. Parisio's mother told The Wall Street Journal that in addition to mental-health issues, her son had been using the "bath salts" as well as other drugs.
Ms. Dow said the designer drugs, which can contain one or more of several different kinds of amphetamine-like chemicals, have been most commonly sold in gas stations and smoke shops. The psychological effects include hallucinations, delusional thinking, anxiety and paranoia, she said. The physical effects include dramatically increasing blood pressure and heart rates, she said.
The New Jersey Poison Information and Education System has received 23 reports of the use of designer drugs labeled as bath salts this year.