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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Senate needs to ban bath salts

    Last week, a state Senate committee backed Senate Bill 1043, which would ban the sale of synthetic stimulants such as those contained in bath salts because of the threats they pose.

    The bill’s author, Republican Sen. Linda Gray, said the bill would add seven substances used to manufacture bath salts to the state’s list of banned substances.

    Records collected by the Banner Good Samaritan Poison and Drug Information Center show that it received almost 300 calls regarding bath salts in 2011, a huge increase from none in 2010. The Public Safety and Human Services Committee also endorsed Arizona’s bill two weeks ago.

    Users replace crystal methamphetamine with bath salts because they are readily available and cheap for manufacturers to make. People smoke, inhale, swallow or inject these designer drugs to obtain a high similar to that of cocaine.

    Bath salts are labeled with a statemant that says they are “not for human consumption,” but as a warning only. This is why the bill needs to become a law immediately. The dangers to users and others cannot be stressed enough.

    The Office of National Drug Control Policy told the Arizona Daily Star, “Bath salts can cause chest pains, increased blood pressure, a racing heartbeat, agitation, paranoia and delusions.” Since the drug abuse is fairly recent, there are not enough cases to know what dosage would cause overdose and be fatal.

    Other states, such as Florida and Louisiana, have already enacted bans because bath salt users cause problems in emergency rooms. Hospital administrators have reported users who hallucinate so they need to be restrained and watched by twice as many hospital staff as regular patients, and their violent outbursts have become real threats to others. So far, at least 37 states have passed laws concerning bath salts, according to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration.

    There are people in this country who think that our government should not interfere with the pursuit of personal pleasures. They argue that, throughout human history, there has always been one substance or another to keep people happy: alcohol, marijuana, cocaine and other drugs.

    However, as a society, there cannot be complacency against drug abuse of any kind. Drug abuse starts out small. This is when the government needs to nip it in the bud. If the wait to enact the law becomes too long, the drug abuse will take hold in this country, just as it did with crystal methamphetamine. If the threat to the individual and society is known already, why not rush the bill and pass it into law? Why wait until another kid becomes a statistic? The government should always strive to protect its citizens.

    — Cheryl Gamachi is a pre-journalism freshman. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions.

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