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DEA Moves to Emergency Control Synthetic Stimulants
Agency Will Study Whether To Permanently Control Three Substances

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is using its emergency scheduling authority to temporarily control three synthetic stimulants (Mephedrone , 3,4 methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) and Methylone). This action was necessary to protect the public from the imminent hazard posed by these dangerous chemicals. Except as authorized by law, this action will make possessing and selling these chemicals or the products that contain them illegal in the U.S. for at least one year while the DEA and the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) further study whether these chemicals should be permanently controlled.

A Notice of Intent to temporarily control was published in the Federal Register today to alert the public to this action. This alert is required by law as part of the Controlled Substances Act. In 30 days or more, DEA intends to publish in the Federal Register a Final Order to temporarily control these chemicals for at least 12 months, with the possibility of a six-month extension. The final order will be published in the Federal Register and will designate these chemicals as Schedule I substances, the most restrictive category, which is reserved for unsafe, highly abused substances with no currently accepted medical use in the United States.

“This imminent action by the DEA demonstrates that there is no tolerance for those who manufacture, distribute, or sell these drugs anywhere in the country, and that those who do will be shut down, arrested, and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart. “DEA has made it clear we will not hesitate to use our emergency scheduling authority to control these dangerous chemicals that pose a significant and growing threat to our nation.”

Over the past few months, there has been a growing use of, and interest in, synthetic stimulants sold under the guise of “bath salts” or “plant food”. Marketed under names such as “Ivory Wave”, “Purple Wave”, “Vanilla Sky” or “Bliss”, these products are comprised of a class of chemicals perceived as mimics of cocaine, LSD, MDMA, and/or methamphetamine. Users have reported impaired perception, reduced motor control, disorientation, extreme paranoia, and violent episodes. The long-term physical and psychological effects of use are unknown but potentially severe. These products have become increasingly popular, particularly among teens and young adults, and are sold at a variety of retail outlets, in head shops and over the Internet. However, they have not been approved by the FDA for human consumption or for medical use, and there is no oversight of the manufacturing process.

In the last six months, DEA has received an increasing number of reports from poison centers, hospitals and law enforcement regarding products containing one or more of these chemicals. Thirty-three states have already taken action to control or ban these or other synthetic stimulants. The Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984 amends the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to allow the DEA Administrator to temporarily schedule an abused, harmful, non-medical substance in order to avoid an imminent hazard to public safety while the formal rule-making procedures described in the CSA are being conducted.

Editor’s Note: DEA will issue an additional press release when the Final Order to Temporarily Control these chemicals is published in the Federal Register.


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