'Bath salts' seized as ban enforcement begins - FOX Carolina 21


'Bath salts' seized as ban enforcement begins

Posted: Updated: Oct 20, 2011 12:00 PM
Deputies say these are some of the synthetic drugs that were seized. (Oct. 20, 2011/FOX Carolina) Deputies say these are some of the synthetic drugs that were seized. (Oct. 20, 2011/FOX Carolina)

Greenville County deputies said that they were working to enforce Tuesday night's emergency ban on synthetic drugs.

Public Information Officer Zachary Hinton said that to show the heightened importance of the situation, two units from the Community Services Division were pulled from their normal duties to begin initial enforcement capacity.

On Wednesday, deputies visited more than 100 businesses to make sure they were in compliance with the ordinance.

Hinton said that they seized more than 2,400 individual packets of synthetic drugs, which were mostly voluntary forfeitures by individuals who contacted the Sheriff's Office to comply. No civil tickets were issued and most of the businesses were already in compliance.

"Within 24 hours of the ordinance going into effect to ban 'Bath Salts', the Sheriff's Office was able to make a significant impact on the effort to remove these substances from circulation," said Hinton.

Hinton said deputies are in the "process of training to effectively enforce the ordinance as well as making a continued effort to educate the public."

Ordinance violators will be issued civil penalty tickets in situations that warrant charges due to the ordinance's civil nature, according to Hinton.

According to the ordinance approved by the Greenville County Council on Tuesday night, the penalty is punishable by a $500 fine.

On Tuesday night, both the Greenville County Council and the Anderson County Council passed emergency bans on substances commonly known as "bath salts."

The Greenville County ordinance prohibits the advertisement, possession, use, purchase or distribution of substituted cathinones, synthetic cannabinoids and certain other synthetic drugs.

Anderson County

Anderson County Council members passed the second reading of their ordinance and an emergency ban went into effect immediately.

The state plans to list the three primary substances in bath salts and synthetic marijuana as schedule one - the hardest type of drug - within days, according to Adam Myrick with Department of Health and Environmental Control.

"We know that this has been classified by the federal agency, by the DEA, as an imminent threat to public health," said Myrick.

State Representative Ann Thayer was at the Anderson County meeting Tuesday and said that she was working with the sheriff's department to craft legislation that will keep South Carolina laws ahead of any future drug trends.

Anderson County Sheriff John Skipper told FOX Carolina Tuesday night that his office would figure out how to enforce the ordinance and would make sure the drugs were off shelves immediately.

Greenwood County

Greenwood County also passed an emergency ban this week. The ban went into effect on Wednesday, giving people a one-day grace period.

The Greenwood County Sheriff said that narcotics teams used that period to visit all shops selling bath salts and provide them with copy of the ordinance.

As of Thursday afternoon, the ban was being actively enforced, but there were no specific numbers available on any seizures or citations issued.

Across the Upstate and Statewide

Spartanburg County is also considering a ban on bath salts.

State health officials are also in the process of working on a ban.

Department of Health and Environmental Control spokesman Adam Myrick said Thursday the agency was working on a ban imposing civil penalties for anyone found making, selling or possessing the drugs known as bath salts and synthetic marijuana. DHEC hasn't determined  exactly what those penalties might be.

Myrick said DHEC hopes the ban will stem the drugs' tide until state lawmakers can outlaw them next year.

Copyright 2011 FOX Carolina. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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