TALLAHASSEE (CBS4) – In an effort to curtail a potentially dangerous situation before it begins, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has temporarily banned a synthetic designer drug which is commonly labeled as “bath salts.”
Officials say the drug, which they believe comes from China, is sold at malls, convenience and other retail outlets under the names Purple Rain, Ivory Wave, Pure Ivory, Vanilla Sky, Ocean Burst and Bolivian Bath. When snorted like cocaine, or smoked, it can produce hallucinations, severe paranoia, seizures, aggression, increased blood pressure and eventually kidney failure.
“It makes you think you’re seeing monsters and it also makes you think that you can fly and there are a lot of balconies out there,” Bondi said at a hastily called news conference.
Bondi is worried the sale of the drug could pose a major problem when tens of thousands of college students descend on Florida’s beaches for spring break. Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen, who brought the issue to Bondi’s attention, said a woman who took the drug there tried to cut her mother’s head off with a machete thinking she was a monster.
Bay County includes Panama City Beach, one of the nation’s top spring break destinations.
Florida law gives the attorney general the authority to temporarily prohibit new substances not covered by existing statutes “to avoid an imminent hazard to the public safety.”
Bondi’s 90-day emergency ban makes the sale or possession of the drug a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison. That’s the same penalty as for similar crimes involving cocaine or heroin.