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Police say broader "bath salts" laws needed

By JOLEEN FERRIS

Congress has passed legislation enacting a federal ban on "bath salts" and roughly 29 other synthetic substances, but law enforcement officers fighting the battle against the deadly substances in neighborhoods every day say that the law will not do much to arm them in that fight.

"I don't see how it will, because it doesn't address the possession of it. It's currently not illegal to possess bath salts in New York State. From what I see in the bill, there's nothing that addresses possession of it at all," says Sgt. Steve Hauck of the Utica Police Department.

Officials say that many laws, including one signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, outlaw "bath salts" in different forms, due to their chemical contents. However, that allows the manufacturers of "bath salt" drugs to simply switch up the chemical contents, and stay ahead of the law.

What the currently drafted federal ban will do is target manufacturing and distribution of the synthetic substances in all its forms.

"I think it basically addresses someone that's getting around New York State law by shipping it in from somewhere else, you know, the actual sale point or distribution point," adds Hauck.

U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer co-sponsored the bill and has championed it for more than a year. Congressman Richard Hanna also fully supports the measure.

The President is expected to sign the bill into law within 10 days.

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