Christie signs ‘bath salts’ bill into law

TRENTON – A bill to criminalize the making and selling of so-called “designer drugs’’ labeled as bath salts in New Jersey has been signed into law.

Gov. Chris Christie signed SCS2829, known as Pamela’s Law, which makes it a crime to make, sell or possess certain chemicals linked to violence, suicidal thoughts or self-mutilation, the governor’s office stated.

“By signing Pamela’s Law, we are continuing to address the real world impact of these so-called ‘bath salt’ designer drugs that have already negatively impacted the lives of too many New Jerseyans,” Christie said in a release.

“These chemicals have no valid medical use and can only cause life-threatening harm to those who ingest them. This action, coupled with our efforts statewide to raise awareness of the dangers of these and other drugs, will give law enforcement the tools they need to properly address the proliferation of these drugs and help us to ensure that needless and senseless additional damage is not caused to families in our state.”

The law is named in memory of Rutgers University student Pamela Schmidt of Warren Township who allegedly was killed by a person under the influence of “bath salts.’’

The new law makes the following chemicals Schedule I Controlled Dangerous Substances (CDS):

  • · 3,4 – Methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV)
  • · 4 – Methylmethcathinone (Mephedrone, 4-MMC)
  • · 3,4 – Methylenedioxymethcathinone (Methylone, MDMC)
  • · 4 – Fluoromethcathinone (Flephedrone, 4-FMC)
  • · 3 – Fluoromethcathinone (3-FMC)
  • · 4 – Methoxymethcathinone (Methedrone, bk-PMMA, PMMC)

The contents of individual packets of designer drugs labeled as “bath salts” vary, but have generally been found to include at least one of these chemicals, the governor’s office stated. The chemicals are synthetic derivatives of cathinone, which is already a Schedule I CDS under Federal law.

“Bath salts, by all accounts, are one of the most dangerous drugs to enter the market in many years,” said Assemblyman John McKeon, (D-27), Essex, one of the bill sponsors. “The side effects can lead to extremely violent and disturbing behavior, as we’ve seen in a number of tragic reports,” he said in a release.

“It’s truly unnerving the way these substances were slipped onto the market disguised as ‘bath salts,’” said co-sponsor Assemblywoman Linda Stender, (D-22), Fanwood. “Given the dangerous and deadly side effects that have been reported, this law will help ensure that stiff penalties are in place for anyone selling or buying the substance.”

A crime of the third degree is punishable by a three- to five-year term of imprisonment, a $15,000 fine or both. Florida, Louisiana and North Dakota have all recently banned the substances, the lawmakers reported.

Christie signs ‘bath salts’ bill into law