RIVERHEAD - The Suffolk County Legislature has voted tonight to outlaw synthetic cocaine that is often sold as bath salts.
Experts say the bath salts, which cost about $20 a packet, can cause hallucinations and violent behavior. Since January, 2,700 people have become ill from snorting, smoking or injecting these "bath salts," according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers.
The products are sold legally under different names such as Cloud Nine and Vanilla Sky. They all contain the drug known as MDPV, which can cause intoxication. Besides salts, the drug is also being disguised as incense, plant food and pond scum remover.
County Executive Steve Levy (R-Suffolk) still has to sign the bill before it can become law. Once that takes place, those caught selling the drug can face fines of up to $1,000 and up to one year behind bars.
The "bath salts" could also be banned on the federal level. In January, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) proposed outlawing the synthetic drugs.