Our Opinion: Dangerous synthetic drugs outlawed

Bath salts prohibited in a law signed this week have nothing to do with cleanliness.

They do, however, have everything to do with staying clean — as in clean and sober.

Gov. Jay Nixon on Thursday signed legislation outlawing synthetic drugs marketed as bath salts.

The substances produce a high reported to mimic the effects of cocaine. Side effects also reported include elevated heart rates, hallucinations and violent tendencies.

According to information provided during the legislative session, the offending substances easily can be distinguished by price, with the synthetic substance costing upwards of $27 for a 250-milligram package, compared with about $4 for a much larger container of the legitimate bath additive.

Also criminalized are synthetic substances that produce a marijuana-like high, including variants of the previously outlawed predecessor K2.

Law enforcement authorities link a vast majority of criminal activity to drug and alcohol abuse and addiction.

In addition to causing aberrant and criminal behavior, drug abuse and addiction also lead to injuries and death.

We commend lawmakers and the governor for recognizing the dual dangers — to users and to the public — and outlawing these diabolical substances.

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