Girgenti To Sponsor Senate Legislation To Outlaw Possession, Sale Of ‘Bath Salts’ Drug

Senator John A. Girgenti, D-Passaic, speaks on the Senate floor in honor of retiring Senator Bob Martin, D-Morris.

TRENTON – Senator John Girgenti, chairman of the Law & Public Safety Committee, today said he will sponsor legislation in the Senate to prohibit the sale and possession of two key chemicals found in products marketed as “bath salts,” but which are actually used by individuals looking for a methamphetamine-like high.

“The more the truth behind these products masquerading as ‘bath salts’ comes out, the more banning these powerful chemicals makes sense,” said Girgenti (D-Passaic). “There’s only one reason people purchase these products, and that is to get high.”

The chemicals targeted under the proposed bill – mephedrone or methylenedioxpyrovalerone (MDPV) – are the active ingredients found in the powders that sell for as little as $20 and are snorted, smoked or ingested to produce a powerful high, compared to that produced by the use of methamphetamines. Products containing the chemicals have recently come under scrutiny, and especially since the alleged murder of a Rutgers University student by her boyfriend – the man’s mother said he had been using “bath salts” in recent months.

A The Star-Ledger investigation found the powders to be readily available at shops along Easton Avenue in New Brunswick, near Rutgers. According to the report, one store employee “was happy to haggle over price and explained which variety was the strongest.”

“That a store clerk would be able to recommend which ‘bath salt’ to buy based on its potency makes these products’ marketing claims even flimsier,” said Girgenti. “These are drugs, plain and simple. And they should be treated as such.”

The Girgenti measure would be the Senate companion to Assembly legislation announced by Assemblywoman Linda Stender and Assemblyman John McKeon. The measure would make the manufacture, distribution, sale or possession of mephedrone or MDPV a third-degree crime, punishable by up to three to five years in prison, and fines of up to $15,000.

The federal Drug Enforcement Agency has labeled the products as a “drug of concern.” The products have already been banned in Florida and Louisiana, and across the European Union.

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