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Updated May 30, 2012 - 2:52 pm

Despite ban, Arizona use of bath salts runs rampant

Synthetic drug makers have been able to skirt the Arizona ban of the drugs known as "bath salts" by changing out some of the chemicals that are on the banned list, said Leslie Bloom with DrugFreeAZ.org.

"So it's out there and available at head shop's and online," she said.

Police in Florida blame the drug for a gruesome face-eating attack on a homeless man. Bloom said the drug mimics methamphetamine and is every bit as dangerous.

"Many kids have landed in the hospital as a result of using bath salts," she said.

Banner Poison Control Center received two calls regarding the drug in 2010. That number exploded to more than 250 calls in 2011 and they've taken in about 70 calls in the first six months of 2012.

Bloom is very encouraged by Congress' get tough on synthetic drugs action taken recently.

The U.S. Senate approved a bill last week that could be on the president's desk by July 4 to ban the sale of synthetic drugs. That bill would make it illegal to sell synthetic marijuana and bath salts anywhere in the United States, regardless of local laws.

First time offenders would receive 20 years in prison. Repeat sellers would spend 30 years behind bars.

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