NY Cracks Down on Synthetic Drugs

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New York is making it more difficult to buy synthetic drugs like bath salts thanks to new regulations put forward by Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office and the state Department of Health.

Store owners selling the synthetic drugs and users will be subjected to greater criminal penalties. While more of the chemicals used to make the synthetic drugs have been banned, and the new regulations expand the state list of prohibited drugs and chemicals to include phenethylamines, which mimic cocaine and amphetamines and are commonly marketed as "bath salts."

Officials said there were more than three times as many emergency room visits due to bath salt usage in the first half of the year (321 visits) than during all of 2011 (291).

"This is the same battle we've fought for decades; this is the fight against illegal drugs," Cuomo said, describing the increase of synthetic drug use as "moving like fire through dry grass."

In March, Cuomo issued an executive order banning synthetic marijuana. New York City issued its own parallel ban for procedural reasons.