Bill would ban “bath salts” drug

Provisions of a bill banning a drug called “bath salts” replaced those of a bill dealing with the juvenile code March 29.

LB670, introduced by Sen. Mike Flood, originally would have authorized court-ordered conditions for dispositions under the Nebraska Juvenile Code.

Omaha Sen. Brenda Council filed a motion to suspend the germaneness rule for consideration of an amendment to the bill that would prevent the manufacture a drug commonly known as bath salts. While the germaneness rule requires that amendments relate only to details of the specific subject of the bill, Council said, the proposed amendment would replace the bill’s original provisions, so the germaneness standard should not apply.

Senators approved the motion 37-0.

The amendment contained provisions originally introduced by Ogallala Sen. Ken Schilz as LB814. It would expand the Uniform Controlled Substances Act to ban the compounds that are used to make bath salts, which are chemically altered substances that have similar effects as methamphetamines, LSD and PCP. The product is manufactured and marketed as bath salts to skirt current drug laws.

Under the amendment, the penalty for possessing bath salts would be a Class lV felony and manufacturing or trafficking the drug would be a Class lll felony.

Schilz said the drug can cause extreme paranoia, erratic behavior and a loss of motor control in those who take it. He described the drug as a swiftly growing problem. Bath salts were the cause of 303 calls to poison control in 2010, he said, but that number grew to 6,072 calls the following year.

Schilz said the drug is popular among some children and young adults due to its low price and easy accessibility, as it can be ordered online and found in novelty stores.

The amendment was adopted 33-0 and LB670 was advanced to final reading on a voice vote.

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