The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control on Monday reclassified substances used to make "bath salts" and synthetic marijuana as schedule I controlled substances.
The move by state health officials comes after several Upstate counties and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency issued an emergency ban on the substances last week.
Although they are sold as such, the "bath salts" that some people ingest are not the same as those that some people put in their bath tubs, like Epsom salts.
Experts said people who ingest the synthetic drug experience paranoia, hallucinations, high blood pressure, increase pulse and agitation.
Schedule I means that substances have a high potential for abuse, have no accepted medical use and lack safety guidelines.
"With the board's vote today, the state's designation of these substances mirrors the federal designation," said DHEC general counsel Carl Roberts. "This will allow state and local law enforcement officers to deal with the issue."
The ban makes it illegal to manufacture, distribute, possess, import or export the substances, Roberts said.
According to state law, anyone convicted of the possession, manufacture or distribution of a schedule I substance could face five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
Friday, May 24 2013 4:38 AM EDT2013-05-24 08:38:10 GMT
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